Like many brides, Laura Murdoch-Marshall followed the age-old tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – but there was nothing conventional about her wedding, particularly when the “new” was her bold haircut.
Laura’s “something old” was her grandfather’s army medal, which she pinned to her tartan sash – “something blue” – and the “something old” was her favourite pair of boots. “I don’t do anything by tradition,” says Laura.
As for the hairdo, she had decided to make the cut for the sake of her younger cousin, Rebecca Maynard, who had just been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Instead of a first dance, Laura (29) offered guests a first shave, with them having to bid to hold the clippers. Her dad, Russell, won the auction with his bid of $1000, but groom Brent Marshall didn’t miss out on using the clippers on his bride.
Unable to attend due to treatments, Rebecca (22) was watching the event via Skype. Invercargill-based Laura arrived at Larnach Castle in Dunedin in a horse-drawn carriage where she exchanged vows with a full head of hair.
Never one to obsess about her looks, Laura didn’t have any qualms about losing her hair on her wedding day, although some guests raised their eyebrows.
“All my family and friends were quite supportive, but I did get some negative feedback. One member of the public said it was ‘ugly’.
“I thought that’s the kind of attitude that makes people having cancer treatment self-conscious to be seen out.”
At first Brent (36), who she met at bowls during a work social club, wasn’t sure about her decision, but eventually came around to it. “He thought it was quite a good idea,” she says.
Looking back at her wedding photos a year later, Laura is happy with her decision and didn’t miss having a first dance with her groom.
“I quite liked it. I thought it looked quite cool. It was something different. I’m pleased I could help.”
Her efforts raised $3000 for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation New Zealand, and she has also become a blood donor for the first time. Thankfully, Becky is now in remission.
“It was something I had always wanted to do, prior to Becky [Rebecca] being diagnosed. But I've always been scared of needles. Now I have the courage to do it.”
She’s growing her hair again and starting from scratch has allowed her to return to her natural colour without regrowth. “I was planning to grow it long anyway, but I decided to start again.”
SHAVE FOR A CURE
Shave for a Cure is held from March 4 to 10 this year, with schools, businesses, individuals and community groups taking part. The money raised will go to the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, which supports the six New Zealanders who are diagnosed with blood cancer every day. For more information, please visit shaveforacure.co.nz