TAMPA — Noah Fishman didn’t know ahead of the “Cut and Color for a Cure” event that Tom Brady would sit in his chair, but when the Bucs quarterback walked into AdventHealth Training Center’s lobby and toward the back corner late Wednesday afternoon, Fishman knew he couldn’t mess up the hair coloring.
“Don’t get it in his face,” he recalled thinking. “I couldn’t spray it in (Brady’s) face.”
Fishman was diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma when he was 13 months old, leading to chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor. For the last 10 years, he’s “shown no evidence of disease,” according to the program’s special guest sheet.
As he held a can of red hair color spray and pointed it toward Brady’s hair, Brady told him “make it as creative as possible,” so the Plant High senior made sure to keep spraying.
Dozens of players and staff members participated in the eighth annual event, as the Bucs raised $117,000 for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Chief operating officer Brian Ford started by getting his head shaved. Quarterback Kyle Trask’s hair was buzzed, and Brady and others sprayed orange and red lines until they streaked down his face. General manager Jason Licht and head coach Todd Bowles made appearances, too.
“That $117,000 is going to research,” National Pediatric Cancer Foundation CEO David Frazer said during the event. “We’re going to fund and support our current 12 trials underway across 32 different hospitals across the nation. The government isn’t doing it. They only fund 4%, so the nonprofits will do it. That’s us — we’re leading the way, and we’re so grateful to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for supporting this effort.”
Nine children and their families were listed on the special guest list, and they positioned themselves at chairs alongside stylists as Donovan Smith, William Gholston, Ryan Jensen and other Bucs players rotated through the seats. Some stayed to help spray or shave after their cut ended.
Midway through the hour-long program, players and families filed into the training center’s auditorium for group photos and a reveal of the amount raised. As Ford introduced Frazer, he turned toward the cluster of players and children on the stage.
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He mentioned the “sad facts” — 43 families receive news of a child having cancer each day, one in 285 children are diagnosed before turning 20 — and then shared a success story: Josh Fisher, a 13-year-old who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia 11 years ago, became cancer-free after undergoing more than three years of treatment.
“He cut my hair eight years ago,” Ford said. “And now he’s almost old enough to drive.”
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