Sponsors are needed for Clips for Cancer, a month-long event in September that raises the funds necessary to ensure that programs and services are available for the increasing number of local children diagnosed with cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital. During childhood cancer awareness month, local community leaders will shave their heads to empower cancer patients like Owen Hart.

When Owen’s mother, Amy Burge, noticed bruises on her 2-year-old son that wouldn’t heal, she took him to the doctor and received devastating news. Owen was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“I was devastated and lost,” said Burge. “I had no family here. I was alone. I had no idea how we were going to get through it.”

Owen will remain in treatment for another year, but thanks to events like Clips for Cancer and the generous Southwest Florida community, Barbara’s Friends has a 26-year history of helping kids with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders. To date, Barbara’s Friends has cared for more than 10,000 local children. The program provides access to resources for families including transportation, gas cards for families to get to and from treatment, meals for parents when a child is staying overnight, and more.

Clips for Cancer is important because:

  • Owen was one of more than 70 children diagnosed with cancer in Southwest Florida in the last year.
  • More than half of Golisano Children’s Hospital’s patients are underinsured, on Medicaid or have no insurance – yet no child is denied treatment.
  • The children’s hospital is one of only nine centers in Florida to offer complete pediatric cancer care.
  • As a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, Golisano Children’s Hospital brings world-class cancer care close to home, offering the same treatments as other centers of excellence.
  • The survival rate for pediatric cancer at the children’s hospital is 84% – higher than the national average.
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital has more than 90 children in current treatment and more than 200 children receiving continued and follow-up care.

To raise awareness about the challenges of childhood cancer and treatment side effects, Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s cancer program  established Clips for Cancer in 2018. In 2020, 35 adult leaders stepped up to shave and raise money at Clips for Cancer, which has grown from a one-day event with a few participants to a month-long celebration of childhood cancer patients and survivors by the community. Clips for Cancer has raised close to $300,000 in the past three years to assist families during their child’s cancer journey.

Each Friday in September, shaves will be hosted on Facebook Live from Great Clips salons. Other events planned to date include: a special 9/11 Heroes shave featuring representatives from multiple fire departments and law enforcement agencies and a Haircuts Helping Heroes Block Party Sept. 19 during Bruno’s of Brooklyn’s 7th Anniversary celebration.

Clips for Cancer sponsorship opportunities include: $25,000 presenting sponsor, $10,000 best friend sponsor and $5,000 clips sponsor. In addition, members of the community are invited to show their support by volunteering to be a Shavee and raising $2,500 or more to support kids with cancer and the pediatric hematology and oncology program.

For information on becoming a sponsor, a Shavee or supporting Clips for Cancer, visit BarbarasFriends.org/ClipsForCancer or email Amy.Frith@LeeHealth.org.

About Barbara’s Friends – Helping Kids with Cancer at Golisano Children’s Hospital 

Established in 1995, Barbara’s Friends provides equipment, staffing and services to support 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 has served over 10,000 patients since opening. No child is denied treatment or turned away as a result of their family’s inability to pay for care. For more information about the Barbara’s Friends fund and supporting child patients in your community, please call Lee Health Foundation at (239) 343-6950 or visit BarbarasFriends.org.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital

Established in 1994, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has been named a “Top Hospital” three consecutive years by The Leapfrog Group. It is the only recognized children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. Lee Health opened the new 134-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 70 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.