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Kim’s Place Continues WNBA Star’s Legacy and Dedication to Kids

Kim’s Place Continues WNBA Star’s Legacy and Dedication to Kids
Oasis for Young Adults Opens at M. D. Anderson

M. D. Anderson News Release 07/30/03

Kim Perrot, starting point guard for the Houston Comets, was known for her dedication and courage on and off the basketball court. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Houston Comets will honor that legacy Wednesday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. at the dedication of Kim’s Place – an on-site retreat created exclusively for adolescents and young adults affected by cancer.

A non-smoker, Perrot was diagnosed with lung cancer, which had also spread to her brain. She was treated at M. D. Anderson and died August 19, 1999 at age 32.

The idea for Kim’s Place originated from Perrot’s dream of creating a place where young cancer patients could go to relax, learn, find support and interact with others their age. Management from the Comets approached M. D. Anderson shortly after Kim’s death to begin making her dream a reality.

“We are proud that we could be a part of making Kim’s dream a reality,” says John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson. “Her compassion and dedication to improving children’s lives are closely aligned with our mission and we’re pleased to be a part of that legacy.”

Often adolescents and young adults affected by cancer feel isolated from others their age or miss the familiar surroundings of their school, home and friends. They may benefit from additional emotional and psychological support, and M. D. Anderson’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program is a comprehensive approach to helping cancer patients and survivors aged 15 to 25 deal with the disease and lead a more normal life.

By providing a place exclusively for adolescents and young adults away from clinical areas and waiting rooms, Kim’s Place complements the AYA Program. It will also be available to anyone age 15 to 25 if a family member is receiving therapy at M. D. Anderson.

“We recognized that cancer affects more than just the patient,” says Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D., head of the Division of Pediatrics at M. D. Anderson. “When there’s cancer in the family, it affects siblings and children of patients too. Kim’s Place gives them a place to find support as well.”

Visitors to Kim’s Place are surrounded by reminders of her exuberance for life and love for the game of basketball. The wall at the entrance is covered with inspirational quotes from Perrot and her teammates. Memorabilia from her career are prominently displayed.

Inside Kim’s Place there are two distinct areas, each with amenities to meet the social and educational needs of adolescents and young adults. The recreational area includes NBA free-throw machines, a pool table, a Wurlitzer jukebox, two computers with high-speed Internet access and arcade games like Pac Man and Star Wars. There is plenty of banquette seating for reading and lounging. 

“Kim’s Place was meant to be a unique place at M. D. Anderson for young people to unwind and get away from it all,” Kleinerman says. “The feedback from patients and their families has been overwhelming.”

In addition to offering visitors a place to “chill,” the vocational counseling area is a more serene space that hosts a variety of gatherings from group counseling sessions and support groups to high school classes. The room’s high-tech equipment includes a wide-screen plasma TV with surround sound, desktop computer with Internet access and theatre-style seating for 12 people. There is also a selection of reference material and books addressing topics from career planning to study guides for college entrance exams.

Kim’s Place is staffed by volunteers and Pediatrics staff and is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The construction and furnishing of Kim’s Place was made possible through a $1.25 million contribution from the Houston Rockets & Comets Clutch City Foundation and fans of the Comets. The Clutch City Foundation was organized by team owner Leslie Alexander, as an umbrella for the Rockets and Comets community initiatives.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center