Dozens from the SWFL community go bald during Pediatric Cancer event

Event Raises Awareness and Support to Help Kids with Cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida Chief Administrative Officer, Armando Llechu, alongside dozens of others including doctors and team members, community leaders, and influential individuals from Southwest Florida had their heads shaved by pediatric cancer patients on Friday, Sept. 28 during the Clips for Cancer event.

The event was held to raise awareness and drive philanthropic support to help local children with cancer through Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund. It was a huge success.

The event brought together families and supporters they didn’t know they had. They were able to share stories, laughter, and encouragement on both sides.

“We were able to raise funds as well as make memories for the children,” commented Armando Llechu, Chief Administrative Officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“Words cannot express the gratitude for the community at large and for the volunteers who participated in this event. We are so thankful for the Southwest Florida community, the love they have for Golisano Children’s Hospital, and more than anything the love they show for the children and families we care for.”

Among those in attendance were Mayor Peter Simmons, Bonita Springs; Fort Myers City Manager Saeed Kazemi, Lee Health Board of Directors Secretary Therese Everly and Chris Hansen, District 4 Director; Jerry Demming, Executive Director for the School District of Lee Country.

There were also a dozen representatives from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office; members of the Lee County Department of Public Safety and Lehigh Acres Fire District, among other first responders. There were also many others, including Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital employees.

Llechu had his head shaved by McKenzie Hummer, who inspired him to hold this event. Ten years ago, 8-year-old Mackenzie was diagnosed with an aggressive, cancerous brain tumor called medulloblastoma that would threaten to end her life way too early.

Twenty surgeries, thirty radiation treatments, ten months of chemotherapy, numerous hospital stays and doctor visits would follow. Over the last few years, she has battled late-effect complications as a consequence of the treatments she received to save her life.

She is a strong young hero that continues to defy the odds every day. Her strength comes from her faith in God, a fire deep inside to win this battle, and a contagious smile.

“McKenzie has been an inspiration to me. From the moment I met McKenzie, I knew she possessed more strength and courage in her little body than I could ever hope to.”

“I was simultaneously encouraged by her strength and saddened by the struggle that is so real in the lives of those we serve.” 

“I knew that day that in order to really care for our patients and families, we needed to connect with them and show our support and solidarity in a fun, yet meaningful way.”

“Through this head-shaving event we showed these children that bald is beautiful, and while we may never have the strength they do, we are with them in their journey.”

Celebrity barber Yoshi of Blackbeard Company was onsite to assist volunteers and the “child heroes” with shaving their “sidekicks’ heads, and donate his skills to finish the job after.

For more information about helping kids with cancer in Southwest Florida, please call Lee Health Foundation at (239) 343-6950 or make a donation at LeeHealthFoundation.org/ClipsForCancer.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital

Established in 1994, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has been named a “Top Hospital” by The Leapfrog Group for the past two years.

It is the only recognized children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. Lee Health opened the new 128-bed Golisano Children’s Hospital in May 2017, relocating the children’s hospital from the adjacent HealthPark Medical Center. It includes comprehensive pediatric services including a 24-hour pediatric emergency department, hematology-oncology unit, milk lab, Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, and Level II and Level III NICU with 64 private rooms. Golisano Children’s Hospital is proud to have been named Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S., a recognition determined by popular vote. For more information, visit GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.