Six year-old Corie Lavender of Texarkana, Texas will be a featured model at the 29th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Gala in Dallas on April 21. Longtime Event Honorary Chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman will also attend.
Diagnosed with Stage One Neurofibromitosis at the age of 4, Corie Lavender, now 6, is a kindergartner at Liberty-Elyau Primary School. She has three sisters, a kitten named Elsa, and a dog named Bruno and is the happiest when people tell her they love her. Her favorite subject in school is math, and when she grows up, she wants to be a famous singer.
“I’m so excited to model in the fashion show because my family will see me all dressed up in my new clothes,” said Corie Lavender. “And I’ll get to smile and wave at them from the stage.” You can follow Corie on her Facebook page: Courage4Corie.
This year's Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala will feature a NYC-themed “Broadway Nights and Runway Lights” event. It's the nonprofit’s 29th annual fundraiser for pediatric oncology research and treatment programs. The Gala features live and silent auctions, a children’s fashion show, dinner, drinks and dancing to musical entertainment by DJ Lucy Wrubel. It will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017, at 6 p.m. (champagne reception), 7:15 (dinner and program), at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway. A fashion show presented by Dillard’s and produced by RSC Show Productions will feature children who are undergoing treatment for cancer at Children's Health in Dallas. The children, “models” for the fashion show, are escorted down the runway by Honorary Event Chairmen Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, along with many other celebrities and sponsors.
Proceeds from the Gala, slated to raise more than $1 million, go to Children’s Cancer Fund to support pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children's Medical Center. Since 1982, Children’s Cancer Fund has donated almost $8 million to the cause. The Children’s Cancer Fund spring event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer, hosting over 1,000 guests from North Texas and across the nation.
Children’s Cancer Fund brings together local celebrities, dignitaries, philanthropists, sponsors, and media personalities to serve as runway escorts for these young patients modeling in the fashion show. Honorary Event Chairs Aikman and Staubach have been involved for many years: Aikman for 20 and Staubach since the event’s inception 29 years ago.
The finale of the show each year is a special time for all the children, both those currently battling cancer and young cancer survivors. As they join together on stage, they will be introduced by the evening’s special entertainment, DJ Lucy Wrubel.
“You have to see the look on these kids’ faces as they walk down the runway. It’s what inspires us in our work and in everything we do,” said Jennifer Arthur, CCF Executive Director of Development. “They are fighters and survivors every day, but on that night, they’re stars and they’re shining brightly for their families, for the audience, and for each other.”
Children’s Cancer Fund was founded 35 years ago by a coalition of parents whose children were receiving cancer therapy at Children’s Medical Center. The organizers have since been joined by community leaders, dedicated volunteers, and health professionals in their fundraising efforts. CCF is one of the nation’s leading fundraising groups in supporting local research toward treatment and prevention of childhood cancers. Among the programs supported by Children’s Cancer Fund are the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program at Children's Health and the Children's Cancer Fund Comprehensive Center for Research in Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, which is gaining a national reputation for its work in eradicating childhood cancer. In 2002, Children’s Cancer Fund initiated funding for a full-time Child Life Specialist at the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Children’s Medical Center to assist the outpatient team. The primary goal of the Child Life Specialist is to make each of the 80-90 daily outpatients’ visits a more positive experience. This position is funded annually by CCF, helping to ease the emotional strain of ongoing treatments, some lasting several years.