(CNS Local Life): The sixth annual Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave is set for Friday, 28 September, with organisers encouraging supporters to forego their next haircut and shave their heads at the event to help raise money for the St Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research.
The Big Shave was inspired by Cayman-born Hannah Meeson, who was diagnosed in 2012 with anaplastic medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Hannah’s parents, Gaylene and Nigel Meeson, created the event to raise awareness about childhood cancer and raise money for research.
“As a parent of a child with cancer there are moments that you are overwhelmed by helplessness and despair and the desperate need to do something, anything, to help find a cure,” said Gaylene Meeson in a press release. “All childhood cancers combined receive only 4% of US federal funding for cancer research so without vital research funded by organisations like St Baldrick’s, Hannah and children like her simply will not survive. All children deserve to grow up and realise their full potential and it’s something that most families take for granted.”
Since fundraising began five years ago, supporters of Hannah’s Heroes have raised US$1.6 million for the St Baldrick’s Foundation. The money has funded six separate research grants named in Hannah’s honour at some of the most prestigious research institutes across the US, including Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland; the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; and Duke University in North Carolina, where researchers are working on life-changing treatments and cures. Organisers are striving to reach US$2 million by the end of this year to fund further grants for all types of childhood cancer research.
Since the 2017 Big Shave, at least three more children in Cayman have been diagnosed with cancer and tragically, Albert Ebanks, a 15-year-old pupil at John Gray High School lost his battle with leukemia earlier this year. Albert’s family will join the parents of other childhood cancer families at this year’s event, and shave for the first time along with the father and brother of 10-year-old survivor Allie Capasso, who was diagnosed with adrenal cancer at aged 6.
Several corporate teams have also committed their support for the upcoming Big Shave, including teams from Maples, Dart, PwC, Ogier, KPMG and Savage Consulting. In addition, students from Clifton Hunter High School, Cayman Prep and High School and John Gray High School will be hosting satellite shave events for students and staff to raise funds.
For those who don’t want to get shaved but want to participate in fundraising, organisers suggest people get involved throughout Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September by hosting bake sales or dress-down days at work or school, sponsoring a colleague or friend to take part in the Big Shave and attending the event, which will take place at The Wicket, Cricket Square.