Syracuse (WSYR-TV)- Kitty Hoynes hosted it's 9th annual head-shaving event to raise money for children's cancer research and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on Sunday.
A team called JJ’s Angels raised the most, $29,437.37, in honor of Juliana Jean LaMonica, who died of a rare leukemia two and a half years ago.
Juliana Jean inspired her family to look forward to every sunrise.
“Juliana was in the hospital bed with the rails up,” Juliana’s father Michael LaMonica said, remembering when Juliana was getting a bone marrow transplant at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
“She would wake up in the morning and peak her head over the rail and look out the window. I could hear her, but I wouldn't want to wake up. She would say, ‘Sun's up Daddy!’ in the most beautiful voice you could ever hear.”
Juliana’s father turned the idea of "sun's up" into "step it up” and raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
For the 3rd year in a row, a growing group of people known as JJ's Angels have shaved their head in Juliana's honor.
Over that time, the team has raised more than $75,000 dollars. By Sunday night, according to Kitty Hoyne’s Facebook page, all of this year’s teams raised more than $340,000.
“89 people donated on my behalf,” said Norma “Bunni” Feldman, part of the Congregation Beth Sholom Chevra team, while getting her head shaved.
“I treat it like a holiday,” said LaMonica. “It's happy and sad to honor my daughter.”
“A brief parent's worst, well, one of their worst fears is that their child is going to be forgotten. This is proof right here, I have 50 people and the group keeps getting larger and larger, that she will not be forgotten,” said LaMonica.
To learn more about the event click here