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Annual Clips for Cancer to raise money for children with cancer

By Staff | Sep 9, 2021

Clips for Cancer kicked off on 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 the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Throughout September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, 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, 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, the 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 and chief executive officer of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands 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 Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office 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 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 seventh anniversary outdoor block party celebration in Fort Myers.

To celebrate the end of the Clips for Cancer campaign, Hummer will shave the head and beard of Amando Llechu, chief officer of hospital operations and women and children’s services at Lee Health, on Sept. 30. 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 and 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 Southwest Florida community, Barbara’s Friends has a 26-year history of helping children with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders. To date, it 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.

According to officials, Clips for Cancer is important because:

• One hundred children have been diagnosed with cancer since the start of the pandemic. More than half of the 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, the 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 percent — higher than the national average.

• The Golisano Children’s Hospital has more than 90 children in current treatment and more than 200 children receiving continued and follow-up care.

For more information or to support Clips for Cancer, visit BarbarasFriends.org/ClipsForCancer.