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Young M. D. Anderson Patients Take a High-flying Adventure to SeaWorld San Antonio for Education and Fun

Young M. D. Anderson Patients Take a High-flying Adventure to SeaWorld San Antonio for Education and Fun
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/07/00

Some 25 young cancer patients from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have something fishy planned today — they'll be holding their weekly art class at SeaWorld during an educational field trip to the park.

Led by M. D. Anderson art teacher Cali Gazis, the children will capture some of the images seen during their park visit on paper.

"The children are looking forward to our SeaWorld class," Gazis said. "Moving out of the hospital environment will certainly stimulate their already active imaginations. It will be exciting to see what the mix of their natural creativity and the park's attractions inspire."

The young travelers — ages eight to 17 — hail from Brownsville, Amarillo, Austin, Huntsville and the Houston area in Texas, and Edmond and Duncan, Oklahoma. The group flew to SeaWorld San Antonio to kick off a summer full of learning and educational field trips.

During Wednesday's visit to SeaWorld, they will participate in a special, hands-on tour of theme park that will include a face-to-face introduction to Shamu, the park’s famous killer whale and several water shows and other attractions. In addition, the chalk, crayons and markers will come out when the group meets for their special SeaWorld-themed drawing class in one of the park's classrooms.

This educational field trip is the start of a summer full of fun and learning opportunities for the M. D. Anderson pediatric cancer patients who are flying Southwest Airlines from their hometowns. In addition to SeaWorld, the group will visit Hemisphere Park and the Institute of Texan Cultures, tour the Alamo, enjoy the exhibits at the Witte Museum and have a dinner cruise on the river while visiting San Antonio June 6-8. Time for a pizza party and a banana split party are also figured into the schedule.

Today, some 80 percent of pediatric patients will overcome cancer and live full, long lives. At M. D. Anderson, the Children’s Art Project is dedicated to nurturing the educational and social needs of these children, and uses proceeds from the sale of products featuring the art of these young patients to fund educational programs at the institution.

This field trip, hosted by Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld, is one of several funded by the Children’s Art Project. Last year, the art project supported more than $1.2 million in patient programs with their sales proceeds. More than 60 percent of those funds provide young patients with educational programs including two in-hospital classrooms and 58 college scholarships for current and former patients, as well as the art classes for the children.

For more information about the Children’s Art Project or for a free catalogue of cards and gifts featuring young patients’ artwork, call 1-800-231-1580 or visit


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center