Woodford house


My 125 Moment – Nicole Parnell

Nicole Parnell

Year 11 Woodford House Student, 2018

Friday 29 June 2018 was a day I will never forget. Coming from a family where cancer has repeatedly appeared throughout many generations, I have always wanted to show my support by doing more than depositing loose change into a bucket outside the supermarket. The idea of shaving for cancer had crossed my mind but never deeply settled.

The day my mother was diagnosed, 15 August 2012, left a mark in my heart and it was then I decided I wanted to help change a life. It wasn’t until I sat down for lunch and a couple of my friends sprung the question upon me, “Hey, do you wanna shave your head with us?” I genuinely believed they were joking. As they continued to stare at me, I realised they were serious. I thought about the many women in this world who endure endless pain and despair from the malignant cancerous growths that lurk beneath their skin. I put myself in their shoes; someone who has lost the love of their life, sacrificed everything to survive or is falling asleep not knowing if they will ever wake up again. The answer to the question seemed clear to me. I know someone who lost the love of their life and I knew someone who sacrificed everything to survive.

We called the name of this shave ‘bald is beautiful’ for a reason. As well as shaving our heads to raise money for a well-deserved charity, we also wanted to unleash the idea that looks do not define who you are. The societal judgment received regarding appearances can leave a person feeling victimised and unempowered, making them believe they are not good enough to be themselves. So, nine girls united together to help women feel empowered and spread the idea that bald truly is beautiful.

Nicole and fellow students after shaving their heads, from left to right: Georgia Buchanan, Claudia Eames, Celine Mabey, Le Vu, Sophie Simons, Alanah Price, Holly Lin, Nicole Parnell, and Juliet Wilkie.

Sitting on the stage, listening to the vibrations of the clippers, I instantly felt a wave of anxiousness and fear sweep over me. Yet when I looked into the eyes of my friends sitting amongst the audience, I was greeted with a sense of pride and respect. Not for me, but for all the brave people who are constantly battling a fight they’re not sure they’ll win. Looking around at the eight courageous women on the stage, I began to understand what it really meant to be beautiful.

It’s funny, the looks you receive when you walk into town and take off your beanie. Aside from the cold drafts down your neck, you almost forget you are bald. It’s not until you feel hundreds of eyes staring at you that you remember the sacrifice you made to change a life. I wondered what goes through the minds of the public when they see me walk down the street. The thing is, at the end of the day, none of it matters. As a human race, we need to place less importance on appearance and remember that we all have our own battles to fight. After all, who could say it better than Winnie the Pooh;

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know.”

In 2019, Woodford House will celebrate its 125th anniversary as a leading school for girls. In the lead up to this significant milestone, we are sharing 125 Moments or Memories about Woodford House from a range of perspectives including Old Girls, Parents, Current Students, Staff and Board Members. We invite you to share your special moment here