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Cayman community unites once more for Childhood Cancer Research

Local News 06 Oct, 2022 Follow News

Cayman community unites once more for Childhood Cancer Research

A huge crowd packed The Wicket Bar in Cricket Square on Friday evening for the 8th annual  Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave to raise funds for the St Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research.

More than seventy men, women, and children shaved their heads to raise funds and demonstrate their solidarity with children fighting cancer who often lose their hair following chemotherapy treatment. Amongst the freshly shorn were the families of Cayman’s childhood cancer survivors, Gaylene Meeson, whose 15-year-old daughter Hannah was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in 2012; Woody Foster, father of 14-year-old leukemia survivor, Charli; Tom and Jo-Jo Sperandeo, father and brother of 10-year-old leukemia survivor, Saylor and Fiona Macfarlane whose 22 year old son son Kai, died on 25th September, five years after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Also present were cancer survivors, Beau Shields (11), Tayden Grant (14) and Ally Capasso (15).

His Excellency, The Governor Mr. Martyn Roper welcomed the crowd praising the community’s continued support of fundraising for research and officially opened the event; he was joined on stage by Woody Foster who led the audience in a prayer celebrating childhood and Ms. Kelly Forebaugh, Director of Hero Funds from the St Baldrick’s Foundation in California, whose travel and accommodation was sponsored by local firms, Conyers and Dart.

Mr. Roper addressed the gathered crowd before helping to shave Mr. Foster’s head.

“ It’s a privilege to be amongst so many brave individuals and families who are such an inspiration to all of us here. I hope our presence here will show our very strong support for this wonderful event and encourage others to support much-needed research”.

Returning live after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Hannah’s Heroes is one of the most successful shave events in the world for St Baldrick’s, raising over US $2.8 million for childhood cancer research. Since 2005, St Baldrick’s has donated more than $332 million in funding for research grants to more than 358 institutions in 31 countries.

Top fundraising teams included Maples and Balder ($31,686), Team Kai in memory of Kai Parham ($23,126), Team Waystone in support of Claire Loebell ($19,626), Dart ($17,871) who matched the funds raised by the team, The Tortuga Rum Cutters ($14,991),  and Cayman Prep & High School ($16,982).

12 children shaved on Friday including students and staff from Cayman International School who collectively raised over $9,500.   The crowd was energized by the return appearance of the Firebalds team made up of 10 of the Cayman Islands Fire Service and moved by the story of Claire Loebell, who following her recent breast cancer diagnosis made the courageous decision to join the event to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Mrs. Loebell has raised $21,899.

At the time of press, organisers confirmed that this year’s Big Shave has raised US $335,000 bringing the fundraising total over the eight live events to US$2,892,822. The team reported that funds are still coming in with several more fundraising events planned over the next few days including a bake sale at Cayman Prep & High Primary school, the proceeds from the event’s silent auction and donations from the register at Fosters stores throughout September.

Donations can still be made by visiting www.stbaldricks.org/events/hannahsheroes

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