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

Clips for Cancer kicks off Sept. 1 to raise the funds necessary to ensure that programs and services are available for the increasing number of local children diagnosed with cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Throughout September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, local community leaders will allow pediatric cancer survivors to shave their heads for awareness of the effects of cancer treatment, which often include hair loss.

Each Friday in September, shaves will be hosted on Facebook Live from Great Clips salons to benefit Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s cancer program. Since Clips for Cancer was started in 2018, the event has grown from a one-day event with a few participants to a monthlong celebration of childhood cancer patients and survivors by the community.

Fifteen pediatric cancer and blood diseases survivors are expected to shave volunteers during the month, including children, teenagers and young adults from the following communities:

  • Cape Coral: Annabelle Philips, 16; Caliah “Cali” Russell, 14; Elizabeth Higgins, 12; Lillianne Bendell, 8; Kadin Williams, 9; Cali Trepkowski, 14; and Rachel McCabe, 27.
  • Fort Myers: Ashton Hoiles, 12; Mallory Rice, 18; and Mackenzie Hummer, 22.
  • Naples: Emma Lockhart, 12; and Sarah McKeown, 18.
  • Golden Gate: Sara Jean, 17.
  • LaBelle: Bradon Gutierrez, 10.
  • Lehigh Acres: McKynsie Jones, 10.

Collectively, these survivors endured nearly 30 years of treatment.

The volunteers to be shaved include Michael Nachef, vice president of government relations at Lee Health; John Lai, president of the Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce; Fort Myers philanthropist Marc Collins; Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson; Sanibel Police Chief Bill Dalton; representatives of the Collier County Sheriff’s Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Department and Fort Myers Police Department; Frank Haskell, the 92-year-old founder of Barbara’s Friends; Barbara’s Friends board Chairman Al Kinkle; Janet Washburn, fire marshal in Bonita Springs; and Elise Snyder, a 16-year Lee Health employee who also shaved her head at the very first Clips for Cancer.

On Sept. 10, first responders from the Lehigh Acres, San Carlos Park, South Trail, Iona McGregor, Bonita Springs, Estero and Port Authority fire departments, as well as Lee County EMS, will be shaved.

Several special shavings are also scheduled. On Sept. 8, FOX4 anchor Patrick Nolan will have his head shaved. On Sept. 19, Cal Bruno of Bruno of Brooklyn’s Restaurant will join with others for shaving during the restaurant’s 7th anniversary outdoor block party celebration in downtown Fort Myers.

To celebrate the end of the Clips for Cancer campaign, on Sept. 30, Hummer will shave the head and beard of Amando Llechu, chief officer of hospital operations and women and children’s services at Lee Health. Llechu was inspired to create the event after he met Hummer, who was first diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 8. He said he knew the community needed an event that would show solidarity and support for children with cancer. Llechu is hoping to raise $50,000 for shaving his head and $50,000 for shaving his beard. Also shaving that day is Dr. Emad Salman, a pediatric oncologist for nearly 25 years, who has provided care for many of the survivors.

Clips for Cancer would not be possible without the support of Presenting Sponsor Florida Radiology Consultants, Location Sponsor Great Clips and the support of The John E & Aliese Price Foundation and Dorcey Law Firm.

Thanks to events like Clips for Cancer and the generous Southwest Florida community, Barbara’s Friends has a 26-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, 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 $300,000 in the past three years to assist families during their child’s cancer journey.

Clips for Cancer is important because:

  • 100 children have been diagnosed with cancer since the start of the pandemic. More than half of Golisano Children’s Hospital’s patients are underinsured, on Medicaid or have no insurance – yet no child is denied treatment.
  • The children’s hospital is one of only nine centers in Florida to offer complete pediatric cancer care.
  • As a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, Golisano Children’s Hospital brings world-class cancer care close to home, offering the same treatments as other centers of excellence.
  • The survival rate for pediatric cancer at the children’s hospital is 84% – higher than the national average.
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital has more than 90 children in current treatment and more than 200 children receiving continued and follow-up care.

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 because of their family’s inability to pay for care. For more information about the 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 in 1994, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has been named a “Top Hospital” three consecutive years 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. For more information, visit GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.

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