About Us

Welcome to 911 4 HNC, the 501(c) 3 fund that hosts all Courage Unmasked events

911 4 HNC means “Help for Head and Neck Cancer.” This is a unique fund dedicated to granting financial aid directly to patients who have or had head and neck cancer (HNC). Unlike many other foundations, ours does not give dollars to research. We support only individuals and families in the Greater Metropolitan DC Area where the money was raised.

Improving the quality of life for those with head and neck cancer is the foremost goal of this endeavor.  The 9114HNC fund was started from monies raised by auctioning radiation masks worn by head and neck cancer patients that artists transformed into fine art sculptures.  The money goes directly to support individual patients who are struggling to make ends meet, whether it’s for taxi fare to the hospital or groceries.

The two priorities of the fund are:

  • to raise and disburse money to assist as many individuals as possible.
  • to raise public awareness of the critical needs of people undergoing treatment for head and neck cancers, many of which are now vaccine preventable!

Original Seed

Courage Unmasked: 911 4 HNC was conceived by Cookie Kerxton while she was undergoing radiation treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC). She is an artist who wanted to find a way to ease the financial burden on other HNC patients who cannot afford the many types of additional expenses incurred throughout and after treatment for HNC. In the video below, Cookie explains her brainstorm for helping other patients in a uniquely creative way.

Cookie chaired the entire process — invited 100+ artists to sculpt with radiation masks, then invited Carol Kanga, another patient of Dr. Paul Bajaj to co-chair the first Courage Unmasked event.  Cookie and Carol relentlessly sought out donations from individuals and corporations to get Courage Unmasked started.  They attracted eight brilliant, ingenious, dedicated volunteers — who then organized their own supporting casts. The short presentation below offers another artist-HNC patient’s perspective on the project.

Colleagues and doctors quickly responded to Cookie’s idea and endorsed the strategy of auctioning the artworks. Meanwhile, Cookie garnered event sponsorship by the premiere nonprofit cancer advocacy organization, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS).