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.