SanFilippo Children’s Foundation: shave to save sick kids

The Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation ‘Shave for Sanfilippo’ campaign is part of a wider fund-raising push at Kimberly Clark Australia (KCA), including a nation-wide walk which was held in September to raise vital research funds for the Foundation.

KCA employee Lissa Chen agreed to cut and shave her waist-length hair if she met her fund-raising target. She raised more than $6,000 , which with corporate gift matching from KCA, it placed her over and above her $10,000 target! She then let her boyfriend and sister do the deed and photograph  the process so it could be shared with friends and colleagues on social media.

Sanfilippo is a rare genetic disease that cause fatal brain damage and for which there is currently no effective treatment or cure. Life expectancy of children with Sanfilippo is between 12 and 20 years. However, there is hope for Australian children battling the deadly disease in the form of a pioneering clinical trial.

This is the second time KCA has stepped-up. Last year it raised $80,000 which contributed a significant portion of the Foundation’s very first milestone payment towards funding the gene therapy trial

The Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation is working extremely hard to help bring the clinical gene therapy trial to Australia, and is dedicated to giving Australian children the same opportunities of access to emerging clinical treatment as their US and European peers.

Chen who recently joined KCA as a national sales manager, made the decision after learning about Sanfilippo from her colleagues and hearing about last year’s fundraising efforts.

“I want to raise as much money as possible for this foundation …I enjoy a good challenge, particularly for a great cause, and I will give it my all.”

Chen has had long hair most of her life but says the sacrifice does not even come close to what children with Sanfilippo and their families endure.

“Sanfilippo is so rare. I’d never heard of it before joining KCA but hopefully by shaving my hair off, I can help raise awareness and funds … It’s the least I can do really!”

Founder of the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation, Megan Donnell, who formed the Foundation in 2013 following diagnosis of both her children with the condition, said this is an amazingly brave gesture and a shining example of the good corporates can do.

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