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Hair today, gone tomorrow 

Natasha before and after the big cut.

Natasha Casebolt is a true cut above the rest.

American server Natasha, a look-a-like for Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle, raised more than $10,000 for Hannah’s Heroes by shaving her locks.

She may have been the top fundraiser on the night, but everyone chipped in and shaved their head to raise a mind-boggling $267,000 for charity – and that figure is still rising.

Natasha may have looked like Meghan before… but now she’s more GI Jane AKA Demi Moore.

“It’s for a good cause and it’s only hair,” said Natasha. “I’m delighted to have raised the most money on the night but it was the efforts of everyone else who really helped.

“I’d just like to thank everyone who helped by sponsoring me. They’ve all played a major part for a great cause.”

The Cayman Islands Fire Service Team The Firebalds with Gaylene Meeson and St Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy

More than 1,000 people packed The Wicket Bar in Cricket Square on Friday evening for the fifth annual Hannah’s Heroes Big Shave to raise funds for the St Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research.

One hundred and seven men, women and children shaved their heads to raise funds and demonstrate their solidarity with children fighting cancer who often lose their hair following chemotherapy treatment.

Among the freshly shorn were the parents of Cayman’s childhood cancer survivors, Gaylene Meeson, whose daughter Hannah was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in 2012; Trent Grant, parents to leukemia survivor Tayden, age 10; Woody Foster, whose 10-year-old daughter Charli was diagnosed age 2 and Richard Reading father of 6-year-old Annabelle, also a leukemia survivor. Also present was 7-year-old Beau Shields who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, age 5 months.

Mrs Meeson welcomed the crowd praising the Cayman community’s continued support of fundraising for research and was joined on stage by Woody Foster who led the audience in a prayer celebrating childhood.  St Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy travelled from California to attend the event and recognise supporters in Cayman. “I am profoundly moved by the way the Cayman community has united to support Hannah’s Heroes and take childhood back from cancer,” said Ms Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

“I am honoured to be able to attend the event this year and meet the dedicated volunteers and donors who have united to help children survive cancer.”

Michelle Carter

Now in its fifth year, Hannah’s Heroes is one of the most successful shave events in the world for St Baldrick’s having raised over US$1.5 million for childhood cancer research.  Since 2005, St Baldrick’s has donated more than $230m in the form of 1,052 grants to more than 358 institutions in 28 countries.

Top fundraising teams included Maples and Calder ($31,161), Savage Cuts – Savage Consulting ($26,269), KPMG ($20,826), Shear Triangle ($19,091) and DART ($16,360).  Twelve children also braved the shave at the event including 9-year-old Savannah Primary student Kylie Freeland who shaved alongside her grandfather Herbert Crawford and told the gathered crowd that she wanted to help kids less fortunate than her.  Natasha Casebolt was the top performing individual, raising $10,512.  Natasha was one of more than 20 shavees who donated hair to UK charity The Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

Child shavees and Hannah’s Heroes founder, Gaylene Meeson

Amongst the honoured returning shavees were St Baldrick’s Squires of Hope, Eugene Nolan, Matthew Bishop, Joshua Pawlik and The Cayman Islands Fire Service “Firebalds” Team as well as Nathan Suitor, 10, and Matteo Carbini, 12.

At press times, this year’s Big Shave has raised US$267,000 with funds still pouring in and several more fundraising events planned over the next ten days including a coin drive at Cayman Prep Primary school which will run until Oct. 6.

Donations can be made by visiting www.stbaldricks.org/events/hannahsheroes




About Paul Kennedy

During a career that spans almost three decades, Paul has covered some of the biggest stories in the world for regional and national newspapers. A multi-award winning journalist and published author, he has worked for the past six years producing television news and documentaries in Cayman. Paul is also the host of a weekly football show. His dream story is to find a dog that can play piano.

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