Cayman comes up big to support childhood cancer research

| 26/09/2016

CNS Local Life

Participants at this year’s Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave (Photo by Deep Blue Images)

(CNS Local Life): More than 1,000 people packed the Wicket in Cricket Square on Friday, 23 September, for the fourth annual Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave to raise funds for the St Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research. They were there to support the 118 men, women and children who shaved their heads to raise funds and demonstrate their solidarity with children fighting cancer who often lose their hair following chemotherapy treatment.

To date, this year’s Big Shave had raised $219,128 with donations still pouring in and several more fundraising events planned.

Amongst the freshly shorn were the parents of Cayman’s childhood cancer survivors: Nigel and Gaylene Meeson, whose daughter Hannah was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in 2012; Trent and Belinda Grant, parents of leukaemia survivor Tayden, 9; Woody Foster, whose daughter, Charli, 9, was diagnosed with leukaemia at age 2; and Richard Reading, father of Annabelle, 5, also a leukaemia survivor. Present as well was Beau Shields, 6, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at five months old.

Gaylene Meeson welcomed the crowd, praising the Cayman community’s continued support of fundraising for research and leading an emotional prayer, “The Prayer of the Bald Momma”, written by Mechon Evangelista-Ebanks, mother of 3-year-old Mimi, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at six weeks old.

“Every one of you is Hannah’s Hero. This community and the St Baldrick’s Foundation fill me with hope for a better future for children fighting cancer,” she said.

Hannah’s Heroes is one of the most successful shave events in the world for St Baldrick’s, said the charity’s Hero Fund manager, Kelly Forebaugh. Since 2005, the foundation has donated more than $200 million in the form of 962 grants to more than 358 institutions in 26 countries.

Top fundraising teams included Maples and Balder ($33,181); Harney, Westwood and Razors ($19,841); PwC ($12,698); Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman ($6,343); DART ($5191); and an all-female shave team, “The Bald Angels”, who raised more than $7,346 and received news while on stage that Red Sail Sports will match their fundraising efforts. The Angels team included Cayman Prep teacher, Claire Hughes, who told the crowd that as a teacher and a mother she could think of no better example of helping others.

Amongst the honoured returning shavees were Councillor Winston Connolly and Olly Thorpe, 7, who was joined on stage by Nathan Suitor, 9, and Trevor Carmola, 10. Trevor donated 22” of his hair to UK charity The Little Princess Trust which makes wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

Related events planned include a student shave at Cayman Prep and High School on 30 September and register donations from Foster’s year of giving, which features the St Baldrick’s Foundation as the chosen charity for September, which is childhood cancer awareness month.

To donate to Hannah’s Heroes, go to the St Baldrick’s website

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Category: Donations

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