‘Clips for Cancer’ event throughout September to raise money for children with cancer

The 5th Annual Clips for Cancer kicks off Sept. 1. The month-long event raises funds to ensure that programs and services are available for local children diagnosed with cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Throughout September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, pediatric cancer survivors will shave the heads of more than 25 local community leaders to raise awareness of the effects of cancer treatment, which often include hair loss. Clips for Cancer aims to raise $500,000 to benefit Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital’s cancer fund.

Each Friday in September, shaves will be hosted on Facebook Live on Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Facebook page from Great Clips salons to benefit Barbara’s Friends. Community leaders are each rallying to raise a minimum of $5,000 in donations and braving the shave in a personal show of solidarity for children battling cancer and other blood disorders.

Funds raised through Clips for Cancer help children like 3-year-old Libbi, who was diagnosed two years ago with a Wilm’s tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Only 500 Wilm’s tumors are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. After treatment, the tumor returned in April 2021, and Libbi received inpatient chemotherapy, spending more than 150 days at Golisano this year alone. In April 2022, Libbi “rang the bell” at Golisano Children’s Hospital, signifying that she is cancer free. To honor Libbi, Anna Aaron, owner of Aqua Tribe, will have her head shaved. Anna was teaching Libbi how to swim when she became ill and is now back in the pool with Libbi who paused on swimming lessons until she could freely splash, cancer free.

Since Clips for Cancer started in 2018, the event has grown from a one-day event with a few participants to a month-long celebration of childhood cancer patients and survivors by the community.

More than 20 pediatric cancer and blood disease survivors are expected to shave volunteers during the month, including children, teenagers and young adults from the following communities:

Cape Coral: Owen Hart, 4; Annabelle Philips, 17; Caliah “Cali” Russell, 15; Elizabeth Higgins, 13; Lillianne Bendell, 9; Kadin Williams, 10; Jordan DeLorenzo 16
Fort Myers: Ever Young, 6; Heaven Johnson, 15; Jaxson Warre, 11; Amani Miller, 20; Mackenzie Hummer, 23.
Estero: Libbi LeDuff, 3
Naples: Emma Lockhart, 12; Sarai Hernandez Salinas, 6; Jorja Miller 16
Golden Gate: Kelsey Rhodes, 15; Sara Jean, 17.
Lehigh Acres: Damian Salcedo, 6; McKynsie Jones, 10; Ethan Rodriguez, 22
Collectively, these survivors endured nearly 30 years of treatment. Each family was impacted in some way by Barbara’s Friends funding which pays for meals when a child is so critically ill and provides gas cards to make sure families can get to and from Golisano for daily treatments. Funds also provide medications when insurance won’t cover at-home chemotherapy or pain relief drugs. Barbara’s Friends offers college scholarships for patients or former patients once they reach their senior year. Donations raised through Clips for Cancer also fund advances in technology and care including the addition of pediatric neurosurgical services at Golisano and the first-ever total immersion chemotherapy room now open at the Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Naples pediatric hematology and oncology clinic.

Many of this year’s participants have been involved since the beginning of Clips for Cancer. Firefighter Maurey Morejon, will represent the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District and Deputy Chief Colin Johnson, is returning for year five after participating in the first year. Cancer Survivor Hummer, who inspired the event, will again shave Armando Llechu, Lee Health chief officer of hospital-based care, on Sept. 30 at Golisano Children’s Hospital to close out the event. For a complete list of shavees, visit https://p2p.onecause.com/clips2022

“I was inspired to organize the Clips for Cancer event after meeting with our young patient, Mackenzie, and her parents, Carrie and Doug Hummer,” Llechu said. “I fell in love with her that day. I decided I needed to do something to show her how much she matters, how much we love her and how we understand her journey.”

Clips for Cancer would not be possible without the support of Presenting Sponsor Florida Radiology Consultants, Salon Sponsor Great Clips and Champion Sponsor Suncoast Beverages. In Kind support is generously being provided by Dunkin’ and Promotional Incentives.

How donations to the Clips for Cancer event will help local children:

A $50 donation could purchase a gas card to help a family provide transportation to a chemotherapy appointment
A $100 donation could provide distraction and put smiles on the faces of patients through Child Life play, keeping playrooms stocked with treats, toys, games and videos
A $150 donation could help provide an “End of Chemo” party, when children ring the bell to celebrate victory over chemo and cancer
A $250 donation can provide home chemotherapy medication for a patient when insurance will not cover the cost
A $500 donation can keep technology up to date with the latest gaming and video in the new state-of-the-art teen and young adult lounge
A $1,000 donation can provide a family with a central line vest, which keeps ports clean and germ free and prevents young children from pulling out their medical lines.
Thanks to events like Clips for Cancer and the generous Southwest Florida community, Barbara’s Friends has a 27-year history of helping kids with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders. To date, Barbara’s Friends has cared for more than 10,000 local children. The program provides access to resources for families including medications, therapies, family counseling, transportation, gas cards for families to get to and from treatment, meals for parents when a child is staying overnight, and more. Clips for Cancer has raised close to $600,000 in the past four years to assist families during their child’s cancer journey.

For information and the stories about volunteers who will be shaved and to supporting Clips for Cancer, visit BarbarasFriends.org/ClipsForCancer.

About Barbara’s Friends – Helping Kids with Cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital

Established in 1995, Barbara’s Friends provides equipment, staffing and services to support lifesaving cancer care for children from across Southwest Florida at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program is the only program of its kind in Southwest Florida and has served over 10,000 patients since opening. No child is denied treatment or turned away as a result of their family’s inability to pay for care. For more information about Barbara’s Friends fund and supporting child patients in your community, please call Lee Health Foundation at 239-343-6950 or visit BarbarasFriends.org.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital

Established by Lee Health in 1994, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has been named a “Top Hospital” three times by The Leapfrog Group. It is the only recognized children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. Lee Health opened the new 134-bed Golisano Children’s Hospital in May 2017, relocating the children’s hospital from the adjacent HealthPark Medical Center. It includes comprehensive pediatric services including a 24-hour pediatric emergency department, hematology-oncology unit, milk lab, Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, and Level II and Level III NICU with 70 private rooms. Golisano Children’s Hospital is proud to have been named Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S., a recognition determined by popular vote. Since 2019, Golisano Children’s Hospital has been a proud member hospital of the Children’s Miracle Network. For more information, visit GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.

This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.