Cayman gets ready for baldness at Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave

Members of the Cayman Islands Fire Service team, known as ‘The Firebalds,’ show off their newly shaved heads and some non-regulation eyewear at last year’s event.

​There is just a week to go before volunteers step up to have their locks cut off and their heads shaved to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave takes place Friday evening at The Wicket in Cricket Square. All funds raised go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research in the United States.

The Big Shave was inspired by Cayman-born Hannah Meeson, who at the age of 4 was diagnosed in 2012 with anaplastic medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. After undergoing two years of treatment, “no evidence of disease” was declared in May 2014. Hannah celebrated her 11th birthday this week.

Hannah’s parents Gaylene and Nigel Meeson created the event to create awareness about childhood cancer and raise money for research.

“Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. In September alone, 25,000 families will hear the devastating news that their child has cancer and 1 in 5 of those children will not survive,” Mrs. Meeson said in a press release.

“We created Hannah’s Heroes, a hero fund of St. Baldrick’s, because we are committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives,” she said.

Other Cayman childhood cancer survivors and their families have joined forces to raise money and awareness and will be honored at this year’s event. Those children include Skylar “Mimi” Ebanks (5), Beau Shields (6), Anabelle Reading (7), Tayden Grant (10) Charli Foster (10), Saylor Sperrandeo (7), Ava Paige Rico (8), Allie Capasso (10), and Matthew Chong Ping (14). Supporters will also pay tribute to the families of Dimitrie Connor, Caitlin Beverley and Albert Ebanks, who lost their battles with childhood cancer.

Gaylene Meeson poses with some of the young shavees who took part in last year’s Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave. This year’s event takes place on Friday, Sept. 28.

Since fundraising began in September 2013, supporters of Hannah’s Heroes have raised US$1.7 million for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and six research grants have been named in Hannah’s honor.

Many teams and individuals will shave at this year’s event, including teams from Ogier, Maples and Calder, Dart, Foster’s Food Fair IGA, PwC and the Cayman Islands Fire Service. Cayman Prep and High School, Clifton Hunter and John Gray High School will also host their own shave events to raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation next week.

“Each year we are truly humbled by our community taking this cause to their hearts. From children donating from their piggy-banks to schools hosting bake sales, coin drives and dress-down days throughout September, we’re making a phenomenal difference; one person might make an impact but a whole community working together can create change and that’s exactly what has happened in Cayman over the past six years,” said Mrs. Meeson.

Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave for St. Baldrick’s will take place on Friday, Sept. 28 at The Wicket in Cricket Square at 5-9 p.m. and features a silent auction, balloon prize raffle and food and drinks specials from the Brasserie. Visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/hannahsheroes or email [email protected] for more information.

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