Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School students raise over $10,000 for Cancer Council

Doing it for Joe: Eleven-year-old Josh Fiorenza shaved his hair in memory of his dad, Joe, who passed away from cancer in January. Pictures: Pip Waller
Doing it for Joe: Eleven-year-old Josh Fiorenza shaved his hair in memory of his dad, Joe, who passed away from cancer in January. Pictures: Pip Waller

YEAR six students from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School have raised more than $10,000 for cancer research in honour of student Josh Fiorenza's late dad, Joe.

After more than a month of fundraising both in person and online, 10 students from the school took on the 'Cut and Colour Challenge' on March 11.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was held at Carramar Park in Dardanup.

With the voluntary help of Boyanup Bridge Street Hair Studio hairdressers Hannah and Marissa, students had their hair either shaved, cut or coloured.

The fundraiser was organised by Josh's fellow classmate, eleven-year-old Xavier Congdon, who brought Josh's original idea to life after his dad Joe passed away from cancer in January 2022.

Team effort: Xavier Congdon, Archie Melville, Josh Fiorenza, Ollie Hedley and Seb Commisso.

Team effort: Xavier Congdon, Archie Melville, Josh Fiorenza, Ollie Hedley and Seb Commisso.

In a speech given at the event by Xavier, he thanked everyone for their support and said he was amazed at the amount fundraised.

"When I set up this fundraiser, I thought a goal of $1,000 would be a massive stretch to achieve - but look at us now," Xavier said.

"The money we have raised will support so many families like Josh's - who I would like to thank for inspiring us to hold the fundraiser."

Team effort: Meigh Wood, Asha Gibbs, Sienna Bowen, Ruby Allwright and Estrella Higham.

Team effort: Meigh Wood, Asha Gibbs, Sienna Bowen, Ruby Allwright and Estrella Higham.

After his initial diagnosis of stomach cancer in 2016, Joe, who has been described as having had a "cheeky personality", battled the disease for six years.

Josh said Joe loved "everything about racing" - with Holden being his favourite brand.

Both Josh and his older brother, Sebastian, race with the Bunbury Kart Club.

"Dad was always into racing - so we had a few stickers with the Holden logo put onto his coffin," Josh said.

"He got cancer when I turned five, so for the rest of the time I knew him he had cancer - but he'd still always tell loads of jokes, with some of them being pretty corny.

"I feel really great because after dad died I couldn't get over it, but when mum told me about the fundraiser I instantly broke down - not in tears, but in happiness, because I thought finally, someone who understands what I'm going through.

"I hope fundraisers like these will continue to strengthen us and show and tell us what cancer does to people."

In 2021, the 'Do It for Cancer' community raised over $3million towards cancer research. The money raised allowed 600,000 Australians to access support and information services and also funded a number of research projects.

The hair that was donated from the year six students will be given to Wigs for Kids based in New South Wales, to be made into wigs for people in Australia.

The Mail sends its condolences to Josh, Sebastian and Tracy Fiorenza at this time.