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Toyota Cowboy James Tamou’s big, bushy Rugby League World Cup beard will be sacrificed to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation in the World’s Greatest Shave this month.

Along with fellow Cowboys NRL squad members Rory Kostjasyn, Ashton Sims, Joel Riethmuller and Anthony Mitchell, Tamou will join more than 150,000 people who will be sponsored to shave or colour their hair to support Australians with blood cancer, and fund research.

The North Queensland, NSW and Kangaroos front-rower’s impressive beard began its life when he was representing Australia in the Rugby League World Cup in the United Kingdom and Ireland last November.

It has survived a hot and humid pre-season but now Tamou has decided the World’s Greatest Shave is the right time for it to come off and hopefully raise thousands of dollars with his teammates at the same time.

Kostjasyn and Riethmuller will both shave their heads following the round two NRL clash with the Brisbane Broncos, while Sims will colour his long locks for the week.

Joining the fundraising initiative will be Jamie Regan from Cowboys major sponsor Tropic Petroleum, who recently upgraded their partnership with North Queensland.

“I can’t think of a better reason to shave my beard off,” Tamou said.

“I’ve loved having it, but it’s time for it to go.

“It’s a great idea that the boys have come up with and we’re challenging all of our members, supporters, footy fans and community members to be brave and shave like us or just simply get behind our $20,000 fundraising goal by making a donation to our World’s Greatest Shave team. “

Cowboys members and fans who attend the round one clash with Canberra at 1300SMILES Stadium on 8 March will be able to find out more about the World’s Greatest Shave by visiting the Leukaemia Foundation stand at Community Corner, proudly presented by Steggles Charity Nest.

“Every day, around 31 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma,” Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland’s Louisa Calvert said. 

“Blood cancer is devastating. In acute cases, treatment can begin within 24 hours of diagnosis.

“For those living in regional areas, it can mean leaving work, school and family and relocating to the city, adding to the shock and emotional turmoil.

“World’s Greatest Shave is the Leukaemia Foundation’s most important fundraiser, providing vital funds to help lessen the impact for people affected by blood cancer.

“Money raised also supports important ongoing blood cancer research.

“Research is improving survival rates, but blood cancer is still Australia’s biggest cancer killer after lung cancer, claiming a life every two hours.

“You don’t have to do an extreme shave to get involved – simply sign up today to shave or colour your hair by going to”

The free Community Corner space at North Queensland’s NRL home matches reflects the Cowboys’ and Steggles commitment to assist charitable organisations to build awareness and support from the local community.

Twelve charities are offered this opportunity throughout the 2014 season.

Each of the selected not-for-profit organisations have a charter to contribute to and benefit the North Queensland community and operate through the contribution of volunteers, fundraising efforts and some government assistance.

To donate to the Cowboys taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave, go to:

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.