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Lehigh fire district helps ‘Clips for Cancer’ raise money

By MELISSA BILL - | Sep 16, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED

news@breezenewspapers.comLehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District first responders put some skin in the game Friday, getting their heads shaved in the Clips for Cancer fundraiser for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

The event was held live on Facebook this year.

Amy Frith, director of Barbara’s Friends and event announcer, called a strong showing by the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District, which had six of its first responders on-site at Great Clips to brave the save, along with Chief Ben of Lee County EMS and Chef Cal Bruno, owner and chef at Bruno’s of Brooklyn. The morning events were also to commemorate and honor those fallen during 9/11.

The month of September is dedicated to childhood cancer, to show support and in honor of the cause child cancer survivors got to have some fun with clippers during “Clips for Cancer” held at Great Clips salon, while also raising money for the children’s hospital.

“The children that you see here today have faced a brave battle. They have beaten cancer and are here as survivors, and now they are going to give some very special haircuts to some very special adults. All of these first responders who are here today have committed to not only getting a very breezy haircut but also raising money for Barbara’s Friends,” Frith said. “This marks the 25th anniversary year of this organization helping 10,000 children who are braving cancer and blood disorders at Golisano Hospital.”

For Lehigh Acres firefighter Maury Morejon, it was his third year participating in Clips for Cancer. This year he was paired with Brandon Gutierrez who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 5. Gutierrez represents the determination of all of the childhood cancer survivors.

“Such as simple thing I’m doing here today and it puts a smile on their face. It shows support and helps a great organization. Today I was able to convince some other coworkers and we are all here together showing up as a team,” Morejon said.

This year, he recruited five fellow Lehigh Acres fire personnel, each one with their own reasons for joining to get an unforgettable cut.

Lehigh Fire District Lt. Britt Ricciardi, the only women during the day’s event, was paired with Olga Lopez who had cancer when she was 11.

“I’m a little nervous but excited. This is the least I could do to show support in some way. Learning the story of Olga here, I wish I could do more,” Riccardi said.

Olga, who is a 10-year cancer survivor, spoke about her experience.

“One of the hardest parts as a girl was losing my hair. Then finding out all the procedures you need to go through, the surgeries, and I had never had surgery before or anesthesia. After chemo I was very weak. It was the worst part of the cancer. But my family and I are blessed. To be a cancer survivor for 10 years now and so thankful to the doctors at Golisano Children’s Hospital and the other foundations,” Lopez said.

Lehigh Acres Fire District Chief Robert DiLallo, a cancer survivor himself, had his shaved by 19-year-old Christina Soriero, a lymphoma survivor.

Christina was diagnosed with cancer at the start of her senior year in high school and recently was able to celebrate being cancer free in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DiLallo spoke briefly about his own battle with cancer.

“I’m a cancer survivor myself. About 20 years ago I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and my wife was pregnant with my son at the time. I also lost my father to cancer, so it kind of hits home for me. Anything I can do to help these children and help them feel better about themselves, that’s important.” DiLallo said.

Other Lehigh Fire District participants included: Assistant Chief Ralph Ketron, who was paired with cancer survivor Makenzie Jones; Deputy Chief Rudy Naranja with McKenzie Homer and Firefighter Anthony Milano had his head shaved by Emma Garcia, who was diagnosed with leukemia at just 4 years old.

Clips for Cuts will continue every Friday through the month of September at a Great Clip location in Lee County. As of Friday evening, LAFCRD had raised a little over $2,500. Each participant’s donation links will be good through the end of the month.

Each of their links are posted below.

• Chief DiLallo:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rob-dilallo

• Deputy Chief Naranjo: 

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rodolfo-Naranjo

• Assistant Chief Ketron:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ralph-ketron

• Lt. Ricciardi:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brooke-ricciardi

• Engineer Morejon:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maury-morejon

• Firefighter Milana:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/anthony-milana