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Cayman community unites once more for Childhood Cancer Research

Local News 02 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Hannah Meeson Gaylene Meeson, Woody Foster.

Big Shave MC James Bebarfald, Acting Governor His Excellency Mr. Franz Manderson, Hannah’s Heroes founder Gaylene Meeson and 16 year old survivor

9 year old shavee Addison Pawlik.

The CI Regiment were amongst shave teams participating on the night.

William “Jono” Fiirstbrooke of the Tortuga Rum Cutters.

A large crowd packed The Wicket Bar in Cricket Square on Friday evening for the  11th 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. His Excellency, Acting Governor Mr. Franz Manderson 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. Manderson paid tribute to the participating teams from the Cayman Islands Fire Service, the Cayman Islands Regiment and the Royal Cayman Islands Police. He also announced that the St Baldrick’s Foundation will be amongst the beneficiary charities for the 2024 Deputy Governor’s 5k Challenge.

“ It’s a privilege to be amongst so many brave individuals and families who are such an inspiration to all of us here. I am exceptionally proud of our uniformed services and their efforts to encourage others to support much-needed research”.

Amongst the freshly shorn were two parents of Cayman’s childhood cancer survivors; Gaylene Meeson, whose 16-year-old daughter Hannah was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in 2012 and Woody Foster, father of 15-year-old leukemia survivor, Charli.

Hannah’s Heroes is one of the most successful shave events in the world for the St Baldrick’s Foundation, raising over US $3 million for childhood cancer research. Since 2005, St Baldrick’s has donated more than $338 million in funding for research grants to more than 358 institutions in 31 countries.

Teams included Cayman International School, who raised $29,574.84, after the Dart organisation matched funds during their inaugural school shave event “Be Bold, Be Bald” held on campus at Camana Bay last week.  Other top fundraising teams included Maples and Balder ($24,663), KPMG ($15,956) The Tortuga Rum Cutters ($12,050) and Fosters ($8,609) who also held a collection at their registers throughout September collecting a further $5,000.

The crowd was energized by the return appearance of the Firebalds team from the Cayman Islands Fire Service who successfully challenged the Cayman Island Regiment and the Royal Cayman Islands Police to create their own teams.

At the time of press, organisers confirmed that this year’s Big Shave has raised US $192,000. This brings the fundraising total over the nine live events to US$3,074,498. The team reported that funds are still coming in with several more fundraising events planned over the next few days including a shave event at Cayman Prep & High school on 13 October.

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

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