Chattanooga Native Leads Fundraiser For Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation To Support Young Niece Battling Leukemia

Friday, May 15, 2020
Alyssa after one of her chemo treatments
Alyssa after one of her chemo treatments

Diane Freeman has organized a fundraiser to support children with cancer.  She will be shaving her head on Facebook live (https://www.facebook.com/diane.y.loyd) on May 30 at 3 p.m. in support of children battling cancer, like her niece, Alyssa Rhodes. 

The video will then be posted to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation fundraising site. 

"Diane is asking for donors to contribute the price of a haircut to support cancer research while sheltering-at-home due to the COVID-19 pandemic," officials said.

There is an option to join the fundraising team.  If fundraisers don’t want to shave their heads, other options include (temporarily) dying their hair, a haircut, a bang trim or sponsorship not to do anything crazy to their hair while under quarantine.

The inspiration for this fundraiser started last year when Ms. Freeman shaved her head in solidarity with her niece, Alyssa, who lost all her hair due to chemo treatments right before her fifth birthday and was feeling self-conscious.  She recalled an annual fundraiser that used to take place in Chattanooga called Jack’s Chattanoggins, where people would get sponsors to shave their heads with the proceeds going to support kids with cancer.  Ms. Freeman had hopes to organize a similar fundraiser.  "This year, with the pandemic halting public gatherings, Diane organized the fundraiser online where we can support children with cancer without risking anyone’s health or safety," officials said.

The goal is to raise awareness that pediatric cancer is not as rare as many believe, support kids that are undergoing treatment for cancer and raise funds to research treatments that don’t cause so many long-term health impacts for survivors. 

"More than 95 percent of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health-related issue by the time they are 45 years old," officials said. "Research is key to discovering new treatments, but only 4 percent of the federal government cancer research funding goes to study pediatric cancer. 

"Alyssa is currently in remission, but will continue with chemotherapy treatments to ensure the cancer doesn’t return.  Once she is done with treatment, she will have undergone three years of chemo, starting at age 4. 

"Alyssa’s family feels grateful and blessed that she has survived cancer, but remains cautiously optimistic.  Alyssa had to wear leg braces because her legs became too weak to support her.  Just this week, she was referred to a neurologist for memory issues and to a physical therapist due to problems gripping anything with her hands. 

"Seeing the devastating consequences of current treatment options for pediatric cancer gives additional motivation to Alyssa’s family to support fundraisers for research into new treatments.  It may be too late for Alyssa to benefit from new treatments, but her family hopes to help children who are battling cancer in the future to avoid the long-term health impacts from current treatment methods."

The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation is located at 17932 Sky Park Circle, Suite E in Irvine, Ca. The PCRF was founded in 1982 by physicians, parents and community leaders.  Their mission is to 'identify and fund leading edge researchers that promise the best hope for a cure of childhood cancer."  Since its inception, the PCRF has made a positive impact in improving childhood cancer survivor rates from 10 percent  to 80 percent, officials said.

The main fundraising page can be found at https://cure.pcrf-kids.org/cutsforacure.
Ms. Freeman's team fundraising page can be found at https://cure.pcrf-kids.org/cutforacure.
A video created for the fundraiser is available on both pages or at https://youtu.be/y8CRrkBundI.

Alyssa and Diane at Alyssa’s fifth birthday party, sporting their newly bald heads
Alyssa and Diane at Alyssa’s fifth birthday party, sporting their newly bald heads

BREATHE. EASY. Mobile Lung CT Coach To Visit Soddy-Daisy June 8

Erlanger’s First Virtual Believe Bash Nets $275,000 Due To Overwhelming Community Support

Free Online Bariatric Seminars Hosted By CHI Memorial Metabolic And Bariatric Care


CHI Memorial’s mobile lung CT coach will be at CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates – Soddy-Daisy, 210 Walmart Dr., on Monday, June 8 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring a mask to wear during the appointment. ... (click for more)

Erlanger’s superhero-themed Believe Bash took an unexpected twist when quarantining and social distancing mandates derailed plans for large social gatherings earlier this year. However, participants ... (click for more)

Jaime Ponce, M.D. and CHI Memorial Metabolic and Bariatric Care is now offering free online educational seminars on surgical weight loss options. Registration is available online at ChattanoogaBariatrics.com, ... (click for more)



Living Well

BREATHE. EASY. Mobile Lung CT Coach To Visit Soddy-Daisy June 8

CHI Memorial’s mobile lung CT coach will be at CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates – Soddy-Daisy, 210 Walmart Dr., on Monday, June 8 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring a mask to wear during the appointment. Masks will be provided to anyone who doesn’t have one. "Lung cancer screening is a test to look for signs of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people," officials said. "The low-dose ... (click for more)

Erlanger’s First Virtual Believe Bash Nets $275,000 Due To Overwhelming Community Support

Erlanger’s superhero-themed Believe Bash took an unexpected twist when quarantining and social distancing mandates derailed plans for large social gatherings earlier this year. However, participants fully embraced the revised virtual version of Erlanger’s annual black-tie event, which ended up netting Erlanger $275,000 in proceeds. When Children’s Hospital super-hero “warriors” ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Has One-Day Record 96 Coronavirus Cases; Hospitalizations (29) And Those In Intensive Care (17) Also At Record High

Hamilton County on Friday reported 96 more positive COVID-19 cases - the largest one-day total yet. That brings the total of confirmed cases in the county since the virus broke out in March to 939. There are 29 coronavirus patients in Chattanooga hospitals, which is the largest number yet. There are 17 coronavirus patients in Intensive Care in Chattanooga hospitals - also ... (click for more)

24 Patients, 1 Staff Member Test Positive For Coronavirus At NHC Rossville

Twenty four patients have tested positive for coronavirus at a retirement center in Rossville. Officials also said a staff member tested positive at NHC HealthCare. A second employee is being checked, officials said. None of the patients have been transferred to the hospital, the facility said. Officials said the majority of those who tested positive are not showing ... (click for more)

Opinion

A New Low For Bureaucratic Dysfunction

Forced emissions testing – a new low for bureaucratic dysfunction. In our old way of living, there were two certainties: Death and taxes. In our new world, the government is giving some relief from taxes but has chosen to substitute vehicle emissions testing. Now the two certainties are death and emissions testing. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is sickening ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Erma Bombeck, surely one of the greatest newspaper columnists in our lifetime, once decreed, "When humor goes, there goes civilization." With a new spate of disappointing news this week, it is easy to see the sage Erma was right, and thus we welcome this week’s newest edition of The Saturday Funnies. As longtime readers are aware, the Funnies are a collection of the nameless missives ... (click for more)