SWFL going bald for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month kicked off on Sept. 1 at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida when Jordan DeLorenzo, 14, a pediatric cancer patient who thought he was there for a routine visit, was surprised by his doctors and family with a very special ceremony. His big brother Austin is one of this year’s Clips for Cancer participants and arranged to have his hair shaved off by Jordan in an overwhelming act of brotherly love and support.
“When Jordan was born, God gave me the job of being a big brother,” Austin DeLorenzo said. “At the time, I didn’t know what that job included, but as I got older, I understood that I would love and protect my little brother at all cost. On April 12, 2018, my brother had to start a fight, one I physically couldn’t fight with him, until today.”
Clips for Cancer is an annual event designed to support and empower children undergoing treatment for cancer and blood disorders at the hospital. Throughout September, community leaders will go bald when their heads are shaved by local children who have survived their battle with the terrible disease. Like Austin, “Shavees” — adults who choose to go bald — often have their own inspiration for braving the shave.
In 2018, life changed way too fast for Jordan and his family. The night before Jordan was to go back to school after Spring Break, he spiked a fever of 104 degrees. After a few doctor visits, the fever was not subsiding, and additional tests were ordered. While at home one afternoon, the family received a phone call informing them that something was not right with Jordan’s labs and that they would need to go to the hospital’s fifth floor to meet with oncology. Jordan was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia at age 12. Since then, he has undergone blood transfusions, platelets and chemo in the spinal cord. He has been sick, had fevers and lost significant weight. Jordan is currently receiving chemotherapy and is scheduled to complete treatments on Aug. 2, 2021. Today, Jordan looks healthy, has gained weight and has a full head of hair. He started school virtually on Aug. 31 as a freshman at Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral, where he wants to enroll in the medical academy program. Jordan wants to be a doctor or nurse in oncology to help children like him.
“It’s a walk through life that you never you think you’ll ever take — cancer,” said Jordan’s mother, Christina. “We were all in shock. Even two years later, with all the appointments and treatments and hospital visits, people say, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ I think your instincts just kick in. We have to do it. We will do it. We are in this as a family and the support of everyone at Golisano has been overwhelming. We are a family.”
To raise awareness and drive philanthropic support, Shavees are inviting the Southwest Florida community to watch them in these moments of empowerment live on Facebook and show their support by making a donation to Barbara’s Friends — Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund. Each Shavee has a personal goal of raising $2,500 or more to support children with cancer and the pediatric hematology and oncology program.
Every Friday in September, watch live on Facebook as pediatric cancer survivors shave the heads of community leaders. Make a donation directly to Barbara’s Friends or show your support for these amazing Shavees and cancer survivors by visiting BarbarasFriends.org/ClipsForCancer.