Procter & Gamble Issues Product Recall Due to Cancer-Causing Chemical, Cancer Survivor Pays for Another Family’s Christmas and More

From a Procter & Gamble shampoo and conditioner recall due to the presence of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, to heartwarming acts of holiday kindness for cancer survivors and their families, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.

Procter & Gamble issued a recall of 30 products due to concern of a cancer-causing chemical.

Procter & Gamble issued a voluntary recall of several of its brands of dry conditioners and shampoos in the United States due to a detection of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical.

Exposure to benzene — which is classified as a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO) — can occur by inhalation, orally or through the skin. Exposure may cause a person to develop leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow or life-threatening blood disorders.

The Procter & Gamble statement emphasized that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published cancer risk assessments and exposure modeling that states how daily exposure to benzene in the levels detected in their products would not be considered enough to cause health effects, but that they have recalled the products anyway.

More than 30 aerosol spray products were recalled, including U.S.-made products from Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essence and Waterless. It also included the previously discontinued dry shampoo products from Old Spice and Hair Food.

"To date, The Procter & Gamble Company has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall and is conducting this recall out of an abundance of caution," the company said in its statement, which included a list of all the recalled products and their production code numbers.

A teenage cancer survivor raised money to pay for another family’s Christmas presents.

Daphne Harrison, 19, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 14. After spending many holidays in the hospital, she understood how difficult and lonely the season is for some families.

During Christmastime throughout her treatment, Harrison was added to the receiving end of the Adopt A Family program from the Badger Childhood Cancer Network, which raises money to pay for Christmas presents of a family dealing with a child’s cancer treatment.

“In such a down, even depressing time in your life, it was something to look forward to,” she told NBC 15.

Now two years in remission, Harrison decided to pay it forward and help another family.

The teenager matched with another family in Wisconsin and raised $1,400 to spend on them. The family is that of Tucker Brugger, a 6-month-old with cancer who was diagnosed at just six weeks old.

“It’s just so heartbreaking, especially for such a baby,” Harrison said.

She shared that her goal was to make it a great Christmas for their family. Brugger’s father, Mark Brugger, wrote a thank-you letter to Harrison that read, “We can’t thank you enough for all the gifts you’ve given our family. Your generosity has shown us love and support during a time when we really needed it.”

A pediatric Christmas drive-thru gave surprise presents to children with cancer.

A pediatric Christmas drive-thru event hosted by the Kern County Cancer Foundation in Bakersfield, California gave some special surprises to children with cancer this week.

The event included a chance to meet Santa and receive gifts and $100 gift cards for themselves and their families. It was sponsored by Kern Family Healthcare.

“Having a child diagnosed with cancer (and) having to make multiple trips to the children’s hospitals for treatment has been rough for them amongst everything else that’s been going on in the world,” Michelle Avila, the executive director for Kern County Cancer Foundation, said to KGET.com. “So, we wanted to bring back the Christmas celebration for them to let them know the community is behind them and they aren’t alone in this.”

There were 20 families given presents, some of which mentioned they wouldn’t have been able to give their children any presents at all if it weren’t for the event.

Vanessa Juarez, a mother of five whose daughter, Jazzlinn, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 9 months old, shared that the consistent help from the foundation helps them to be able to make it to Jazzlinn’s appointments.

“Personally, it means that they care,” she said. “It means that they care about the kids and the community.”

A breast cancer survivor built a Christmas light show to raise money for cancer research.

Dawn Fortis of Fishkill, New York created an intricate holiday light show this season to raise money for others with breast cancer.

Fortis and her husband, Joe, programed the show to go along with Christmas music on a radio station and even provided visitors with a photo-op with Santa Claus, as well as holiday treats.

After Fortis’s breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, she was able to get through treatment thanks to her loved ones’ support. But she couldn’t help but think of other people who don’t have that support.

“It made me stronger," Fortis told Spectrum News 1. "It made me want to help women like myself who didn’t have anything or didn’t know anything.”

She created the Brielle Grace Breast Cancer Foundation — named for her granddaughter — to help local women with breast cancer by funding research, scholarships, holistic healing and other strategies.

Thanks to donations from the light display as well as through the year, Fortis said she expects to raise $30,000.

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