Article & Photographs by Tika Siburt
We are sure a large majority of you remember Tatum, a wonderful Eye Cancer Hero who has gone through so much with her fight against Retinoblastoma, of which she is now cancer free! Tatum is a warrior and not only that, she is truly a hero; raising a generous amount of money at her school to donate to the Carlos G. Bianciotto Retinoblastoma Research Fund. (You can read Tatum’s previous articles Coins for a Cure & Tatum, The Retinoblastoma Warrior.) Eye Cancer Heroes wanted to thank Tatum for her generosity and so we put our thinking caps on.
Throughout Tatum’s visit one thing really stuck in our minds, something that Tatum had said. All Tatum wanted for her birthday was her hair back. Through various cancer treatments, the loss of hair can be one of the hardest things to endure. Many people wear wigs and hats but it wasn’t until after our surprise to Tatum that we found out Tatum’s love for headbands.
Headbands of Hope is an amazing organization that donates gorgeous headbands to girls with cancer. These headbands can make someone feel pretty and girly again despite hair or no hair. We love everything this company stands for. Anyone can buy a headband and through these purchases a headband will be donated to a girl with cancer along with a $1 donation to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. How cool is that?! Not only that but they have amazing opportunity for college representatives to make a difference on their college campuses as well as their community. (I may have encouraged a few of my friends still in college at RIT to pursue this.) But it seriously is such a wonderful cause! So, we contacted them and Jessica Ekstrom, the founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope quickly responded to us and almost immediately we had gorgeous headbands to give to Tatum at her next visit.
I am pretty sure we had been anxious to surprise Tatum with this donation for a good two and a half months. The surprise was even better as Tatum’s sister Macee was with the family this time as well. It was great to see these two sisters together sporting the headbands from Headbands of Hope. We wanted Tatum to know how proud we were of her for her fight and through that fight still remembering to help others. Our team, headed by Dr. Carol Shields is always touched by how hard our patients fight for life and sight and yet still take time to help others going through similar battles. It is stories like Tatum’s and all our patients that remind us the real importance of helping and encouraging others. If something as simple has a headband can bring happiness and encouragement then we are all for it, through and through.