It’s a common reaction people have after just a few minutes with Mackenzie Hummer. “Mackenzie is awesome. Mackenzie has changed my life,” said Armando Llechu, CAO of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
“The smile that she has is genuine. That’s the one thing that everybody that meets her, they comment about the smile. Just the joy. It’s so awesome to hear people say the joy they see coming out of her, because it’s her middle name, so I really believe that it was a God-given name,” said Mackenzie’s mom, Carrie.
At eight years old, Mackenzie was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. After more than 20 surgeries in 11 years, today, Mackenzie is cancer free—but she still has significant side effects left behind from cancer treatment. “They struggle and fight so hard, and I just want them to know that we recognize how strong they are,” said Llechu.
To honor Mackenzie’s cancer journey, leaders of Golisano Children’s Hospital volunteered to lose the one thing that can be the most difficult for cancer patients. “As I’ve spoken to patients over the years that have cancer, adults and kids, losing their hair is always such a monumental experience. It creates so much anxiety, so much insecurity,” said Llechu.
Feelings Mackenzie knows all too well. “Whenever I found out I had to lose my hair that was really hard for me,” she said.
But in this moment, where hospital leaders gathered to have their heads shaved, Mackenzie and a dozen other children were able to experience a little joy. “With everything she’s gone through, it’s awesome that she can inspire something like this,” said Carrie.
Giving children and their families support as they continue their fight against cancer.