Barbara’s Friends 15th Anniversary Celebration Set for Jan. 31

Fort Myers, FL, January 10, 2010 --( Barbara’s Friends, the Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund, will celebrate a special milestone this month – its 15th anniversary - with an event on Jan. 31, 2010 from 12 noon – 3:30 p.m. at the Miromar Design Center, 10800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, Fla.

Founded by Fort Myers residents Frank and Betty Haskell to honor their daughter, Barbara, who died of breast cancer in 1995, the organization has raised more than $8.7 million since its inception. This money has helped build and equip a pediatric hematology and oncology center and other facilities providing therapy and support to children battling these diseases in our community. The fund also helps cover some treatment expenses for uninsured or underinsured patients.

“When our daughter was undergoing treatment for her cancer, she would often see children with cancer and blood diseases getting treatment as well,” Frank Haskell says. “This pained her greatly, so setting up a charity dedicated to fighting these diseases in our community seemed a fitting way to honor her memory.

“Today, the Barbara’s Friends Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Center treats more than 100 children each week and averages one new patient each week,” Haskell continues. “No child is ever turned away, but more than half either have no insurance or have only Medicaid and need help from charities like ours.” All money collected by Barbara’s Friends remains and is used to help young cancer and hematology patients in our area and their families.

Area residents are invited to join the Haskells and others at the celebration. In an event themed after Barbara’s favorite song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” attendees are invited to toast the organization’s mission at a champagne brunch, enjoy performances by local youth artists, and bid on a wide collection of items to help Barbara’s Friends continue to paint the rainbow for cancer-stricken children.

The event will be held on Jan. 31, 2010 from 12 noon – 3:30 p.m. at the Miromar Design Center, 10800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, Fla. For more information, call 239-985-3550.

About Barbara’s Friends
Barbara’s Friends -The Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund has raised more than $8.7 million since 1995 for the medical care and treatment of Southwest Florida children with cancer. Today, 100 children receive treatment each week and more than 3,000 children have received treatment since 1997. The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida is operated by Lee Memorial Health System.

Lee Memorial Health System
Erika Houser
239 278 3900