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Family Matters - Winter 2008

Pediatric Patient Gives the Gift of Music ...and other stories of giving

Last summer, while most kids were attending summer camps, swimming or going on vacations, Aidan Immroth spent his summer in the hospital getting rehabilitation for paralysis that resulted from a brain tumor. The one thing he clung to throughout the long summer was his personal iPod.

Aidan’s love for music and his iPod sparked an idea with a family friend that has now turned into a philanthropy for other pediatric patients needing a distraction. In September, AIDAAN.org, otherwise known as Angels in Disguise Are Always Near, was created. Using funds from donations, Aidan and his family and friends have purchased iPods and iTunes gift cards to give away to other pediatric patients in hospitals across Texas.

“I really love music,” says 11-year-old Aidan, “and the iPods serve as music therapy. I know from my own experience that when patients listen to their favorite music or watch a TV show, it can take their mind off any stress they may be dealing with and help them relax.” 

Through suggestions from nurses and other staff at the Children’s Cancer Hospital as well as family and friends, AIDAAN.org is able to identify patients who may benefit from having their own iPod.
“I became friends with this one patient through school. He seemed pretty down about his cancer, so I thought giving him an iPod would help him focus on something else,” says Aidan. “So far, I think it has worked.”

When patients receive the iPods or iTunes gift cards, they are asked to provide AIDAAN.org with a list of their favorite songs, videos, etc. so that they can be posted on the organization’s Web site for other kids to view. As for Aidan’s own playlist, he says it’s full of music from all decades and genres, television episodes of Avatar, and audio books of “The Series of Unfortunate Events.”

“I want AIDAAN.org to grow so that we can give more iPods to more patients,” says Aidan, “but I don’t want to get too large to where it’s not personal. Finding out that the iPods or iTunes uplifted someone is the best reward.”

Holiday Party Hosted by Fertittas Raises $66,000 for Pediatric Cancer Research

Almost 200 guests joined in the holiday fun Dec. 4 at the Santa’s Elves Party benefiting the Children’s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson. The third annual event, held at the home of Paige and Tilman Fertitta, raised more than $66,000 to support two research programs at the Children’s Cancer Hospital: ON to Cure, or the Optimizing Nutrition to Cure program; and PAL for Childhood Cancer Survivors, or the Promoting and Assessing Lifestyles program.

Pediatric Patient Uses Birthday to Donate Toward Research for Her Disease

There are many donors who give to the Children's Cancer Hospital, and some of them come from within. When Jacey Bagwell turned nine years old, instead of asking for gifts from her family and friends, she asked them to give donations to the Children's Cancer Hospital. When the birthday party was over, Jacey was able to donate more than $200 to osteosarcoma research.

The day she presented her doctor, Dennis Hughes, M.D., with the check, he was on his way to a meeting with M. D. Anderson's Board of Visitors. He took Jacey with him to let her tell the board her story. She talked about being a student at the in-hospital school while undergoing treatment last year and that she is making all A's this year at her home school in South Carolina. For such a small girl, she made a big impression with the large crowd and posed for a photo with Dr. Hughes and former President George Bush afterwards.

Golfers Against Cancer in Columbus Raise $20,000 for Children's Cancer Hospital

In August, a group within Golfers Against Cancer hosted the 7th annual Shannon Casey Mers Memorial Golf Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. From the tournament's proceeds, $20,000 was donated to osteosarcoma research at the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson.
The first tournament was held in 2002 in memory of Shannon Casey Mers. Mers was a devoted family member and an avid golfer who passed away from osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in 2001.

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