Children’s Cancer Fund Pledges $1 Million to Advance Pediatric Oncology Research

December 01, 2016

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman with patient Reese Skelte

Capping 34 years of multimillion-dollar fundraising in support of pediatric oncology research, Children’s Cancer Fund has pledged an additional $1 million to Children’s Medical Center Foundation.

Children’s Cancer Fund (CCF) was founded in 1982 by a coalition of parents whose children were receiving cancer treatment at Children’s Medical Center under the care of Dr. George Buchanan (see related story on page 6) and his team of physicians and health professionals. Its mission remains to advance pediatric cancer treatment and prevention through research and improved clinical service. CCF supports initiatives aimed at discovering better treatments and potential cures for pediatric cancer, minimizing or eliminating the challenging psychological effects on cancer patients and reducing the long-term effects of treatment on survivors.

The organizers have since been joined by community leaders, dedicated volunteers and health professionals in their development efforts. Many of the organization’s original founders still serve CCF in some capacity. Because of this extensive support network, CCF has become one of the nation’s leading fundraising groups in supporting local research toward the treatment and prevention of childhood cancers. CCF relies on the dedication and expertise of several generous and compassionate leaders, including Roger and Marianne Staubach and Troy Aikman.

Patient Jude Cobler and Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett

Partnering since its inception with Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center – both national leaders in the research and treatment of pediatric cancer – CCF has provided more than $7 million in funding to these institutions over the past three decades. CCF’s signature fundraising event, the Annual Gala, inspires others to take active leadership roles in the fight against pediatric cancer. This past year, the Gala, led by longtime honorary chairs Mr. Staubach and Mr. Aikman, engaged 150 volunteers, 1,200 guests and set a fundraising record. The event brings together current pediatric cancer patients and survivors, supporters, celebrities, and the community to inspire hope and raise support. Save the date for the 2017 Gala on April 21.

“For 34 years, CCF has supported programs and fellows at Children’s and UT Southwestern, improved outpatient care in the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s, and funded a Child Life specialist to help families cope,” said Dr. Karen McClard, president of the CCF board of directors. “CCF remains driven to create a brighter future for kids with cancer by investing in innovation, inspiring hope, and providing resources for compassionate care.”

From the very beginning, a large part of CCF funds have been used to support bright, early-career research fellows, who had the potential and drive to make new discoveries. One of the earliest faculty members to receive support was Dr. Gail Tomlinson (1998), who currently directs the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and holds the Greehey Distinguished Chair in Genetics and Cancer. Since that time, nearly 40 fellows and other faculty have received funds from CCF that have helped them advance their research projects and improve cancer outcomes for thousands of children. This past year, two fellows received funding: Dr. Samuel John and Dr. Erin Butler.

Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders with patient Margaret Strand

”The Children’s Cancer Fund helped my early career in pediatric cancer research tremendously,” said Dr. Tomlinson. “Not just the funds provided for pilot projects and infrastructure support, but the shared passion to better understand cancer in children was truly a driving force. When my research team would attend the annual luncheon and fashion show, they were so inspired to see the reason and potential benefits behind the daily research work.”

Brent Christopher, president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, said, “This latest commitment from Children’s Cancer Fund is such a wonderful testament to the group’s dedication to accelerating the discovery of a cure for cancer. What started as a grassroots organization has grown into one of the most passionate and respected fundraising organizations that truly makes a difference in the lives of kids with cancer. We are honored by this new pledge, which will fund research into new therapies for kids of the future.”

Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones with patient Christian Arroyo


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