Cal Bruno, owner and chef at Bruno’s of Brooklyn in downtown Fort Myers, lost his father to cancer. He chooses to honor him by supporting Clips for Cancer, a fundraiser for Barbara’s Friends – the Golisano Children’s Hospital cancer fund.
“He was my best friend, mentor and role model,” Bruno said. “Helping these children is a perfect example of how we can honor our loved ones that deserve to be honored.”
The event recognizes the struggle and fight that children with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders have, often losing their hair during treatment, and raises money so that every child can receive the care they need close to home.
Local community leaders volunteer to raise money and have their heads shaved by cancer survivors at Great Clips throughout September, also known as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, with some participants being shaved live on Facebook every Friday.
Bruno will be joined by several local first responders to have their heads shaved on Sept. 11 as a tribute to firefighters and first responders who fought valiantly to save the lives after the 9/11 attacks.
“Having the event held on 9/11 with firefighters at my side is fitting for such a tremendous battle these kids have,” Bruno said. “Being a New Yorker on 9/11 made us all stronger!”
TUNE IN AS SWFL HEROES BRAVE THE SHAVE
Watch these firefighters and first responders get their heads shaved by pediatric cancer survivors live on Sept. 11 at 8 a.m.:
Ben Abes, director of public safety for emergency response and communications and chief of the division of emergency medical services for Lee County. “While the battle against cancer is deeply personal, the Clips for Cancer event is a great opportunity to let them see the community’s support. I am proud to participate and be a sidekick in their fight.”
Rob DiLallo, cancer survivor and Lehigh Acres Fire Department Chief. “I know what it is like as an adult to have cancer but cannot imagine going through the experience as a child.”
Ralph Ketron, assistant chief of the Lehigh Acres Fire Department. “Having the opportunity to bring joy and laughter to these childhood cancer survivors will raise their self-esteem and bring a sense of normalcy to their lives.”
Rudy Naranjo, deputy chief, Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District. “Experiencing several family members who have been affected by cancer has shown me how important it is to strongly support them emotionally.”
Brooke Riccardi, lieutenant for the Lehigh Acres Fire Department. “Children look to adults for guidance, support, and love,” Ricciardi said. “Shaving my head is a simple act to show these brave children they are supported and loved. I am hoping to borrow a small amount of their bravery though!”
Anthony Milana, firefighter for the Lehigh Acres Fire Department. “Having this opportunity to support and encourage these strong brave children that they are not fighting this battle alone is an honor.”
Maury Morejon, engineer with the Lehigh Acres Fire Department. “I feel honored to participate for the third year in a row and to be part of the overwhelming support this event brings. Please help us achieve our goal and help these kids and their families through the tough time.”
Clips for Cancer started in 2018 after Golisano Children’s Hospital Chief Administrative Officer, Armando Llechu, met a very special girl named Mackenzie. Eleven years ago, eight-year-old Mackenzie was diagnosed with an aggressive, cancerous brain tumor called medulloblastoma. Twenty surgeries, 30 radiation treatments, 10 months of chemotherapy, and numerous hospital stays would follow. Currently, Mackenzie is battling late-effect complications as a result of the treatments she received to save her life. She is a strong young hero who continues to defy the odds every day.
For the past 25 years, Barbara’s Friends has helped more than 8,000 local SWFL kids with cancer and blood disorders from infancy to age 30. So far this year, 42 local children have been told they have cancer. These families need your help.