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Prevention: Patient Profile

Annual Report - 2005-2006

Making Music Together


By Sarah Watson

Guitarist Rhett Butler found a unique way of saying “thank you” to those at M. D. Anderson who have cared for his brother, Ashley. He established the Ashley Grant Butler Pediatric Assistance Endowment at M. D. Anderson.

Proceeds from concerts and the sale of his CDs are directed through Rhett Butler Records to the endowment, which is designed to help families of pediatric patients at M. D. Anderson with housing expenses during extended cancer treatments.

In 1982, Ashley was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer called primitive neuroectodermal tumor, or PNET. Ashley and his mother lived at the Ronald McDonald House during his treatments in New York. Far from their home in Houston, they experienced the financial struggles many families encounter as they cope with cancer.

A 2002 graduate of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Ashley enjoyed more than 20 years of being cancer free before being diagnosed with a tumor in his neck in 2004. Subsequently, he underwent surgery at M. D. Anderson to remove it. Then, two years later, the cancer returned, requiring additional surgery and a round of chemotherapy. The family is encouraged by the results, says Butler, noting that Ashley is an inspiration for his music career.

The endowment “is dedicated completely to Ashley,” says Butler, who is based in Denton, Texas. “I want Ashley’s name to live on forever at M. D. Anderson. It’s something that will be there to help people and to make a difference, long after all of us are gone.”

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center