STANDING STRONG: Donna Long, who will be shaving her head at a Christmas in July event for lung cancer, with daughters Alexandra (behind) and Evey (left).
STANDING STRONG: Donna Long, who will be shaving her head at a Christmas in July event for lung cancer, with daughters Alexandra (behind) and Evey (left). Matt Taylor GLA080618LUNG

Christmas in July to help break cancer myths

CHRISTMAS is a time for giving, but for one Gladstone family, Christmas in July will be their time to give back.

Gladstone mum Donna Long is set to hold a special Christmas in July event at Savour the Flavour Cafe at Tondoon Botanic Gardens, in aid of her sister Ruby, a non-smoker who is battling lung cancer.

Donna will be shaving her head at the July 14 dinner event in order to show solidarity with her sister and shine a light on others who are battling the disease.

"I just want to show my complete support for the cause and to stand tall for everyone fighting cancer," she said.

"It's a big thing to have no hair and of course my sister lost hers while she was going through chemotherapy.

"She's fighting her second battle with it and you kind of feel like, 'What am I doing?'

"You can't do a lot when they're fighting so this is our way to try and help."

Having previously lived in Gladstone, Ruby is living away from family in Bundaberg where she has better access to cancer services.

Despite being a non-smoker, Ruby is fighting her second bout of lung cancer which is often associated with heavy smoking.

It is a stereotype Donna hopes to help break down through the fundraiser.

"Hers isn't from smoking, so it's just to get it out there that... it doesn't have to be from smoking, and to help with some of the stigma associated with it," Donna said.

"The event is to raise awareness about lung cancer and cases like my sister's which are cause by environmental factors and not smoking.

"I did a little fundraiser previously just at home, and I thought I'd try something a bit bigger."

Donna's children are hoping they will have the opportunity to help shave their mum's head.

They have chosen to hold the event with a Christmas in July theme, because of their family's love of Christmas.

While no official dress code has been set, Donna is hoping people will dress up.

Tickets are $65 each with the event limited to 80 guests.

Funds raised from the event will go towards Lung Foundation Australia. A portion of the money from each ticket sold will be donated along with $1 for every drink sold.