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Bald For The Brave

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As part of childhood cancer awareness month, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has announced its Chief Administrative Officer, Armando Llechu, alongside a dozen others including doctors and team members, community leaders, and influential individuals from Southwest Florida will have their heads shaved by pediatric cancer patients on Friday, Sep. 28 in the main atrium of the children’s hospital.

To raise awareness and drive philanthropic support that will help local children with cancer, these “sidekicks” (kids are the real heroes) are asking the Southwest Florida community to come together and make donations to Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Cancer Fund. For more than 20 years Barbara’s Friends has supported lifesaving cancer care for children from across Southwest Florida at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program is the only program of its kind in Southwest Florida, and no child is denied treatment or turned away as a result of their family’s inability to pay for care.

Llechu will have his head shaved by Mackenzie Hummer. Ten years ago on January 29th, 2008, eight 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 to 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.” said Armando Llechu, Chief Administrative Officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. “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 can show 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 will donate his skills to clean up our sidekicks. For more information about helping kids with cancer in your community, please call Lee Health Foundation at (239) 343-6950. To make a donation, go to BarbarasFriends.org/BaldForTheBrave.

Visit BarbarasFriends.org to learn more.

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.