Athens hosts 'Cut for a Cure' fundraiser for little boy

Athens hosts 'Cut for a Cure' fundraiser for little boy battling brain cancer

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Neyland Pickel was diagnosed with brain cancer back in July, just two days after his third birthday. Neyland Pickel was diagnosed with brain cancer back in July, just two days after his third birthday.
"I hope it at least puts a smile on their face," said Alex Shultz, organizer of the event. "I hope it at least puts a smile on their face," said Alex Shultz, organizer of the event.
"He has a bigger personality than anybody you would ever meet. He talks to everybody, doesn't meet a stranger," said Sylvia Pickel, Neyland's mother. "He has a bigger personality than anybody you would ever meet. He talks to everybody, doesn't meet a stranger," said Sylvia Pickel, Neyland's mother.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

ATHENS (WATE) - The Athens community is wrapping its arms around a little boy battling cancer.

Neyland Pickel was diagnosed with brain cancer in July, just two days after his third birthday.

While he's in the hospital undergoing chemo treatments, members of his hometown turned out Sunday to raise money toward his medical bills.

At just three years old, Neyland, the son of a McMinn County sheriff's deputy, is already well-known around Athens.

"He has a bigger personality than anybody you would ever meet. He talks to everybody, doesn't meet a stranger," said Sylvia Pickel, Neyland's mother.

When word spread about his brain cancer diagnosis, community members jumped into action.

They organized Sunday's "Cut for a Cure" fundraiser at Magic Scissors Hair Salon.

"I hope it at least puts a smile on their face," said Alex Shultz, organizer of the event.

All the money raised from haircuts was donated to the Pickel family to offset Neyland's medical bills.

More than 100 people turned out to go under the scissors.

"There are sweet people willing to come together and support his family. They're not ones to ask for anything. They'll give you the shirt off their backs," said Shultz, who is also a close personal friend of the Pickel family.

Neyland's family found out he had a cancerous brain tumor just days after celebrating his birthday two months ago.

"Rapidly growing, high risk cancer. It was in his cerebellum, really close to his brain stem," said Pickel.

Doctors were able to remove the tumor, but now Neyland has to undergo 48 weeks of chemo treatments.

As he receives that care right now at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, his mother says he's still the same happy little boy he's always been.

"He doesn't let on a bit so that keeps everything positive. You would never know," said Pickel.

For his family, it's amazing to see this many people come out to the "Cut for a Cure," all for their little boy.

"It's completely overwhelming with all of the help," said Pickel. "It's indescribable. We never first of all thought it would happen and then that people would care so much to help out our family and little Neyland."

Sunday's event raised $3300 and it isn't the only fundraiser Athens is putting on for Neyland.

They're hosting a benefit motorcycle ride at the end of the month to raise even more money.

The motorcycle ride is scheduled for 2 p.m. on September 22, beginning at Cycles & More in Athens.

For more information, call the event organizers at (423) 744-9421.

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