On Friday, March 31st Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. will once again highlight the fight against childhood cancer and the hope to find a cure by raising funds and shaving his head to support a local family that has been impacted by the disease. The recipient of this year’s appeal for support is the Hammond family of teenager Karina Almaraz.
Karina, a 15-year-old Hammond resident, found out in January of this year that she was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease). Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system. In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, white blood cells (called lymphocytes) grow out of control, causing swollen lymph nodes and growths throughout the body. Karina has several areas on her body that are affected.
Since January, Karina has been receiving chemotherapy that includes both treatments and injections and can include up to three sessions in one week. Karina is scheduled for six cycles of chemotherapy so that if the treatment schedule set for Karina stays on track she could be finished with her treatments by mid-June. Although the treatment may be ending this June, the medical bills and costs associated with caring for Karina will continue.
Mayor McDermott is challenging everyone to open their hearts and donate to the Almaraz family to help them cover Karina’s medical expenses so that they can continue to focus on Karina and getting her back to full health. The event will be livestreamed from Hammond City Hall on March 31st at 2pm on the city’s Facebook Page (“Go Hammond”) and other social media platforms. Karina will be the Mayor’s barber if there are over $10,000 in donations received. Please be generous if you are able and donate at this GoFundMe campaign.
Mayor McDermott has for over a decade participated in the fight against childhood cancer by using his position as mayor to raise money for the fight and to highlight members of the community suffering as a result of a cancer diagnosis. During that time, he has raised tens of thousands of dollars annually towards this fight against childhood cancer and encourages all members of the community to join him to help show support and to find a cure against all forms of childhood cancer.