PARRISH -- As Darlene Skinner-Davis fought cancer, she found herself moved by the plight of children she saw being treated at the same local hospital.
Sadly, Skinner-Davis lost her battle with cancer several months ago. But before her passing, she inspired her daughter, Crystal Centeno, to pick up the torch and work to improve the lives of children battling serious illness.
Centeno has organized a hair-cutting event to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Creative Edge Studio and Spa, Suite 101, 8405 U.S. 301, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 30.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited, chronic disease that interferes with the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems of children and adults.
"A defective gene causes the production of thick, sticky mucus. It builds up and clogs the small airways and passageways which carry harmful bacteria out of the body. Because the bacteria is trapped, serious infections develop that weaken the organs and place constant stress on the immune system," according to the Take a Breather Foundation.
Haircuts will be offered for a minimum donation of $20 with all proceeds donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation under Makayla's Believers, named for the child of a friend of Centeno's who is battling the disease.
It was easy recruiting other stylists at Creative Edge to donate their time, Centeno said.
"Everyone here has a big heart and we've all been through hardships," she said.
"I wanted to do something to help children, the kids my mom was seeing in the hospital. It was everything I was seeing and feeling," Centeno said of the push to collect donations for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Centeno also recruited Shake Station, a new business in Ellenton, to cook hamburgers at the hair-cutting event and donate the proceeds as well.
"We didn't even have our doors open when she approached us, but we want to be involved with the community and this is a good way to start," said Andy Ameres, Shake Station owner.
Also planned are raffles, face painting, and carnival games, Centeno said.
Nerrisa Ortiz-Hicks, the mother of 8-year-old Makayla Hicks, said he child was born with the disease.
Aside from the money that will be raised, it's about raising awareness about cystic fibrosis, Ortiz-Hicks said.
Although children and adults are living longer with cystic fibrosis, and have a better quality of life than in the past, a cure remains elusive.
"I am beyond being taken aback and at a loss for words," Ortiz-Hicks said of her appreciation for the hair-cutting event.
For more information about the event, call 941-704-8365. For more information about cystic fibrosis visit cff.org.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1.