More than a dozen leaders representing Lee Health support children with cancer
The Floridant/10083903

A $25,000 challenge grant has been issued from The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation for the event that continues through September

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Floridant -- Throughout September, child advocates and supporters of Barbara's Friends are "braving the shave," allowing local childhood cancer survivors to shave their heads to raise awareness and support for Barbara's Friends - the cancer fund for Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.

In addition to raising money for the 25th year of Barbara's Friends, Clips for Cancer raises awareness about the challenges of childhood cancer, including going bald, a frequent side-effect of cancer treatments. Proceeds will provide equipment, staffing and services to support lifesaving cancer care for children in our region at Golisano Children's Hospital.

On Sept. 18, Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and CEO of Lee Health, had his head shaved by Caliah Russell, who 10 years ago at age 3 was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Caliah recently turned 13 and dreams of one day being a Disney Imagineer.

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"I am shaving my head because I want to show our children, the ones who are fighting for their lives, that they are not alone, we are here with them and we want to do this for them," said Antonucci. "We're here to take care of the community regardless of ability to pay. I am proud to join other leaders as well as the generous donors to Barbara's Friends to encourage our young heroes."

To show their support of Antonucci, The John E. & Aliese Price Foundation issued a $25,000 challenge grant to the community, pledging to match donations raised by Antonucci up to $25,000. Right before Antonucci's shave, Nancy and Randy Howell called to donate $20,000 towards the challenge. Nancy Howell is the sister of Barbara Haskell, the namesake of Barbara's Friends and daughter of Frank Haskell, founder of the pediatric cancer fund.

In addition, Dr. Thomas Presbrey and Florida Radiology Consultants donated $40,000 to Clips for Cancer to encourage Lee Health leaders to have their heads shaved. Presbrey, president of Florida Radiology Consultants, joined them by having his head shaved on Sept. 18 by Ashton Hoiles.

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To raise awareness and drive philanthropic support, Shavees (the participants who agree to be shaved) are inviting the Southwest Florida community to watch them in these moments of empowerment live every Friday in September on Lee Health Foundation's Facebook ( and show their support by donating to Barbara's Friends – Golisano Children's Hospital Cancer Fund at ( Each Shavee has a personal goal of raising $2,500 or more to support kids with cancer and the pediatric hematology and oncology program.

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