Time to get shaved for Hannah

| 14/09/2017
CNS Local Life

Team ‘Maples and Balder’ have raised more than $100,000 to date

(CNS Local Life): More than 1,000 people are expected to gather at the Wicket in Cricket Square Friday, 22 September for the fifth annual Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave for the St Baldrick’s Foundation to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Now in its fifth year, Cayman residents Gaylene and Nigel Meeson conceived the event to raise awareness about childhood cancer. In 2012 their daughter Hannah was diagnosed with anaplastic medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Hannah will turn 10 on 18 September.

“Hannah currently has no evidence of disease,” said Gaylene Meeson. “We never thought we would celebrate Hannah’s 10th birthday and she has amazingly defied the odds that left her with a less than 5% chance of survival but she suffers many disabilities following treatment, including impaired balance; partial deafness; vision loss; cognitive, memory and fine motor deficits; and slow processing.

“Hannah is not alone; by the time childhood cancer survivors are 45 years old, more than 95% of them will have a chronic health problem or life-threatening condition. Without organisations like St Baldrick’s, Hannah and children like her will simply not survive.”

Other childhood cancer survivors in Cayman are involved in helping raise funds and awareness, including Skylar “Mimi” Ebanks, Annabelle Reading, Beau Shields, Tayden Grant and Charli Foster. As there is no treatment available for childhood cancer in the Cayman Islands it was necessary for them all to travel frequently to the US for treatment and for ongoing check-ups.

Hannah’s Heroes is a Hero Fund of the St Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research in the US. Since inception, the foundation have awarded US$230 million in childhood cancer research grants and since 2012 has been funding the ground-breaking research that led to the FDA approval of CAR T Cell therapy for children with leukaemia just last month.

St Baldrick’s CEO, Kathleen Ruddy, is travelling from California to attend this year’s Big Shave and thank the Cayman community in person for their continued fundraising efforts.

“I am profoundly moved by the way the Cayman community has united to support Hannah’s Heroes and take childhood back from cancer,” said Ruddy. “Since the first head-shaving event in 2013, Hannah’s Heroes has raised over US $1.4 million to fund lifesaving childhood cancer research.

“Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave is one of St Baldrick’s largest events and I am honoured to be able to attend the event this year and meet the dedicated volunteers and donors who have generated such resources to help children survive cancer.”

In recognition of Hannah’s brave battle and her quest to raise awareness and funding St Baldrick’s have named four specific research grants since 2013 in honour of Hannah’s Heroes.

Amongst those braving the Big Shave next week are the Cayman Islands Fire Service team, The Firebalds; corporate teams “Maples & Balder”, DART, PwC and MUFG; the parents of local childhood cancer survivors; and several school children. To date, more than $60,000 has already been raised by shavees ahead of this year’s event.

The Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave for St Baldrick’s will take place from 5pm-9pm and feature a silent auction, balloon prize raffle, and food and drinks specials from the Brasserie.

In addition to the main event, two high schools have joined the fight against childhood cancer again and will be hosting school shaves next week. On Thursday, 21 September, at 8am, Clifton Hunter High School, in line with its RESPECT 24/7 initiative and with a particular emphasis on empathy, is hosting a staff and student shave assembly. All academies are collecting funds to support this event.

At 12:55pm the same day, Cayman Prep and High School’s teaching staff and students will also shave to raise funds.

For more information, go to the St Baldrick’s website or email Hannah’s Heroes 

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Category: Community, Fundraiser

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