Dozens of moms whose children have been touched by cancer will be shaving their heads and appearing on a television special to support childhood cancer research. The “46 Mommas”, including women from the Nashville area, will participate in the shaving event September 7, 6 p.m., at the Center Court of the Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles, Calif. The 46 Mommas will then appear onstage during the Stand Up To Cancer live telecast, September 10, 7 p.m. Stand Up To Cancer will be broadcast live on all of the major television networks and several cable outlets.
Tiffany Beamer of Bellevue is the driving force behind the newly-formed 46 Mommas childhood cancer organization. The group adopted the name 46 Mommas because 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.
Beamer’s daughter, Miranda, was just three years old when doctors at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt diagnosed the youngster with cancer.
“My family was out of town in September 2007 when we noticed a lump on our youngest daughter Miranda’s back,” said Beamer. “After we returned home to Nashville, doctors at Vanderbilt told us Miranda had Ewing’s Sarcoma of the soft tissue of the chest wall.”
The toddler spent months at Children’s Hospital and went through six rounds of chemotherapy before undergoing surgery to remove the tumor.
More rounds of chemotherapy followed before Miranda was finally pronounced cancer-free. She spent the next 15 months in physical therapy to treat nerve damage in her legs that was a side effect of chemotherapy.
Today, the leg braces are gone and Miranda is doing well. Tiffany, who has three other children, said her family’s experience made her determined to do something for other families.
“I wanted to make a difference for the parents who lost their children to cancer. As a mother I decided to shave my head to show my daughter and the rest of the world that kids get cancer, too,” said Tiffany. “I went online to recruit other “mommas” to support childhood cancer research.”
One of the “mommas” who answered the call was Becky Evreniadis of Nashville. Her son, Jamie, was three years old when the active little boy complained about pain in his legs. Local physicians couldn’t find a cause so Becky and her husband took Jamie to Children’s Hospital where doctors diagnosed their son with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that starts in early nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system.
“Neuroblastoma was such a scary word. It was even worse when they told us that the survival rate is less than 25 percent,” said Evreniadis.
Jamie, who had tumors in his stomach and leg, went through several rounds of aggressive treatments with setbacks and side effects. He finally appeared to be stabilizing when he developed breathing problems and passed away April 24, 2006.
Evreniadis decided to join the “46 Mommas” in memory of Jamie and “all the children fighting today and the ones who will be diagnosed tomorrow.”
She is apprehensive about losing her hair and appearing on national TV but she hopes the Shave for the Brave will shine a spotlight on childhood cancer.
“I will do whatever is in my power to bring attention to these children,” said Evreniadis.
Money raised during the 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave will be used to support cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, one of the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising programs for childhood cancer research.