Governor to open seventh annual Big Shave

Some head shave participants join Hannah Meeson, front row, third from left, at the Hannah's Heroes Big Shave at The Wicket last year. This year's Big Shave will be held on Friday evening, 20 Sept. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Governor Martyn Roper is set to officially launch the seventh annual Big Shave event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on Friday.

So far, 127 people have signed up to have their heads shaved at the event at The Wicket in Cricket Square, all with the aim of raising funds for childhood cancer research. Among them are 22 Cayman Islands Fire Service personnel, the largest contingent to sign up from one entity.

Before a single lock has been shorn though, $132,605 has already been raised. Organisers said they are aiming to raise $250,000 this year.

The event, dubbed ‘Hannah’s Heroes’, began in 2012 in honour of Hannah Meeson, the young daughter of then-Cayman residents Gaylene and Nigel Meeson, who faced a difficult fight against brain cancer. Hannah turned 12 Wednesday and now has “no evidence of disease”, according to organisers.

“We never thought we would celebrate Hannah’s 12th 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,” Gaylene Meeson said.

Since its inception, Hannah’s Heroes has raised more than $2.1 million for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has dedicated more than $279 million to childhood cancer research since its first event in 2000. St. Baldrick’s has named nine research grants in recognition of Hannah’s Heroes since 2013.

Mrs. Meeson welcomed the generosity, saying, “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 from Cayman will join the event, including Skylar ‘Mimi’ Ebanks, Saylor Sperandeo, Annabelle Reading, Ava Paige Rico, Beau Shields, Allie Capasso, Charli Foster and Tayden Grant.

Through sponsorship by Conyers Dill & Pearman, St. Baldrick’s Foundation Hero Fund Manager Kelly Forebaugh will travel from Seattle to Cayman for the fundraiser.

Teams for this year’s Big Shave include ‘The Firebalds’ from the Fire Service, corporate team ‘Maples & Balder’, Dart, PwC, KPMG, the parents of local childhood cancer survivors and many schoolchildren from such schools as Cayman International School, Cayman Prep and High School, and Bodden Town Primary School.

The event will also feature a silent auction, balloon prize raffle, photo booth hosted by Party Booth Cayman and food and drinks specials from the Brasserie Restaurant.

Organisers are encouraging the public to get involved throughout Childhood Cancer Awareness month by hosting bake sales, dress-down days, sponsoring a colleague or friend shaving at The Big Shave and by attending the event this Friday.

Visit www.stbaldricks.org/events/hannahsheroes or email [email protected] to get involved or for more information.

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