Hilton: teacher to lose beard in fundraiser for student with leukaemia

Levi Surjan (12) and teacher Steven Carrabs. Photo: Andrew Ritchie. d488451 communitypix.com.au.
Levi Surjan (12) and teacher Steven Carrabs. Photo: Andrew Ritchie. d488451 communitypix.com.au.

A CHALLENGE to students to support their sick classmate has seen Our Lady of Mount Carmel School teacher Steven Carrabs prepare to lose his beard in a special event tomorrow.

Twelve-year-old student Levi Surjan (Kardinya) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in March, forcing him to miss a lot of school while he receives chemotherapy treatment.

Levi’s mother Veronica Vinci said it had been great to see the school and his classmates support him unwaveringly since his diagnosis.

“(The diagnosis) was the most fearful moment of our lives as parents, we all struggled to comprehend what was happening,” she said.

“On a school level the Principal, Kevin Duffy, has done everything to support Levi and us in any way we want and he can from allowing him access to the classroom via Apple TV to keeping me in the loop with any illnesses through the school.

“Levi was part of the Gifted and Talented program in first term and completed the program via Skype in Term 1 and 2.

“It was such an awesome way to keep him connected socially as this disease can often isolate people simply with its treatment being so intense.”

As part of that support, Mr Carrabs recently challenged Levi’s schoolmates to raise $3000 in support of the Cancer Council and if they could, he would allow Levi to shave off his beard.

That target was smashed, with $4600 already raised.

Mr Carrabs said the Year 6 students traditionally chosen a cause to champion during the lead up to Christmas.

“This year as we have two members of our school family battling cancer, I thought it was best to direct our prayers and actions into fund-raising for a cure for cancer as this would give the students a voice,” he said.

“At one stage one of my students proposed the idea that I should shave my beard off to show my solidarity and I thought that if it got people’s minds off cancer and helped to raise funds, and inspired my students, then we should give it a go.”

Ms Vinci said her family felt blessed to be part of such a caring community.

“For me as a parent and us as a family it has created a sense of warmth and inclusion that we did not expect,” she said.

“This has been something that is incredibly humbling to watch and be a part of and has helped provide a sense of safety in such an unsafe time.”

Visit www.doitforcancer.com.au/fundraisers/stevencarrabs to donate.