“Can’t stop ... Won’t stop ...”
Those words are more than just a motto for leukemia awareness.
They describe Kathy Hawkins, her will to survive and her determination to support blood cancer research.
“I’m going to do everything I can in my power to raise the money to help save lives,” said the mother of two boys from West Pennsboro Township.
“I want to be around to raise my children for a very long time,” she said. “I plan on doing just that.”
A cancer survivor, Hawkins launched a campaign in early March to raise $50,000 by May 19 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She visited a cut-a-thon charity event Saturday at Mansfield Hair Studio at 1312 Holly Pike, just south of Carlisle.
Money from her Woman of the Year campaign will be put toward a grant to research a treatment or cure for acute myelogenous leukemia, which has only a 20 percent survival rate, Hawkins said.
Though she has a less aggressive form of cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia can develop into AML. Her medication is attacking cancer cells as they develop in her bone marrow, but should she ever stop, the disease could overwhelm her system.
“I take a chemo pill every day,” Hawkins said. “That’s the only thing keeping me alive.” The medication does not work on AML, which is why Hawkins wants to target the grant toward fighting that disease.
Tax deductible donations can be made by visiting her campaign at www.teamkathyforthecure.com. Hawkins was first diagnosed with CML in 2008 and has been a regular customer of Mansfield Hair Studio since 2010.
The studio on Saturday hosted a cut-a-thon where 100 percent of the suggested donations for each haircut went toward the Kathy Hawkins campaign.
“It’s important to give back to the community,” said Bridget Mansfield, salon owner. “There are so many people that help support us as a business. We want to be able to help support them back.”
For four years, the studio has sponsored an annual cut-a-thon to help a charity. Past efforts raised money for Wounded Warriors, the Project SHARE food pantry and the ALS Association that fights Lou Gehrig’s disease.
For a day, Mansfield studio staff members volunteered their time to cut hair, sell baked goods and hot dogs and run a silent auction and 50/50 raffle.
“It’s a collective effort we all take on to help organize the event,” Mansfield said. Prior to Saturday, the studio held other fundraising efforts for the Hawkins campaign, including a sub sale in coordination with South Side Deli in Carlisle. The goal is to raise $2,500.
Valerie Gayman of Dover, York County, is a regular customer who stopped by Saturday to support the cut-a-thon. “It’s awesome,” she said. “They are going a good job and it’s for a good cause.”
Beautician Emily Sharpe was doing Gayman’s hair. “We are so happy to be able to help Kathy. She’s just an incredible lady.”
“Words cannot express how grateful I am to the entire Mansfield studio personnel for all they have done,” Hawkins said. “They are an amazing group of girls, and I am blessed to be part of each of their lives.”