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Helping Hands

Family Matters - Summer 2010

New MD Anderson-sponsored play area opens  

The Galleria and the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital partnered for the grand opening of The Little Galleria play area on June 29. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off a week of festivities introducing families to the indoor playscape resembling Houston’s notable shopping destination.

Located on the second level in front of Borders, The Little Galleria is constructed for children under 42 inches tall and was designed around The Galleria concept, complete with mini-versions of Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Williams Tower.

The play area is ADA compliant and includes more than 2,000 square feet of space and anti-bacterial play elements, consisting of a grand entrance facade, climbers, slides, tunnels, a play wall, shoe keepers, a changing station, hand sanitizer stations, a stroller area and adult seating. Artwork provided by the Children's Art Project will be displayed in the family lounge area alongside The Little Galleria.

The Little Galleria, as presented by MD Anderson’s Children’s Cancer Hospital, is not only fun, but also contributes to exercise and positive developmental growth in a safe environment.

“Exercise and sun safety are two healthy habits we emphasize to our patients at the Children’s Cancer Hospital and the healthy public,” says Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D., head of the Children’s Cancer Hospital. “The Little Galleria is a great venue that allows kids to have both. We’re happy to be a part of this fun, indoor play area.”

Aside from the grand opening, MD Anderson will also partner with The Galleria to host family-friendly events throughout the year at the new play area.

Marching with Marshall

It takes a lot to keep Addison Marshall down. Armed with a strong family and supportive friends, he’s already weathered a few storms in his young life.

Addison Marshall, third from left, joins his
buddies at the end of an 80-mile hike
supporting him as he continues treatment
for acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced a move for the Marshalls from New Orleans to Fulshear, Texas, just outside of Houston. Addison immediately began setting roots again through the Boy Scouts, sports and with new friends.

However, during spring football training in 2009, he began complaining about a pain in his side. Visiting the doctor, the Marshall family learned that Addison had three cracked ribs caused by an enlarged spleen. A blood test showed that his white blood cell count was abnormally high as well. Transferring to MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, Addison was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer.

To distract himself from the chemotherapy treatments, Addison focused his sights on football and preparing himself to rejoin his team at Foster High School for spring training. Then, with practice starting in a few days, the family was dealt another blow – his cancer had relapsed in his central nervous system.

Addison quickly learned about how great friendship can be. Recently, a group of his friends from his Boy Scout troop and football team, led by former coach Mac McStravick, embarked on an 80-mile hike through Sam Houston National Forest – all in support of Addison. Over the course of four days in 100-degree weather, the “Marching with Marshall” group endured many challenges along the hike in order to show their support for Addison.

“Addison is a fine young man, and he’s going through a lot right now,” McStravick says. “We are doing this to show our strength and support for him, and to let him know that we are here for him.”

Addison has his own journey to complete as he continues to receive treatment for his cancer. That doesn’t stop him, though, from maintaining the life of a typical teenager – working out, playing with his dog Pineapple, hanging out with friends and showing off his new car.

Race Across America (RAAM) helps Children’s Cancer Hospital patients

Cheneire’s “Making Cancer History Race Across America” team again raised money for neurofibromatosis research at the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. To celebrate the current $20,000 donation, RAAM team member Kirk Gentle and his colleagues threw a “Christmas in July” party on July 7 for pediatric patients and their families.In all, Cheniere Energy, Inc. has given $210,000 to the Children's Cancer Hospital.

The Hoglund PediDome was Santa’s Workshop with busy little elves decorating gingerbread cookies, picture frames and other craft projects. Santa himself stopped by for children to have their photos made with him. Popcorn, fruit cups, nachos and ice cream sundaes were also part of the fun.

The team Pedal Partner, Emily Parker from Sugar Land, Texas, a neurofibromatosis patient at MD Anderson; her physician, John M. Slopis, M.D.; and Leslie Christison, RN, were also in attendance to help the young patients with the holiday crafts.

Since 2005, Cheniere’s Making Cancer History team has supported neurofibramotosis research at MD Anderson. The cycling team competes in RAAM, one of the most challenging endurance races in the world, as a symbolic demonstration of how teamwork, research, persistence and ingenuity can triumph over obstacles such as neurofibromatosis and other debilitating diseases. This year’s effort was part of an annual campaign that coordinates multiple fundraising events in support of cancer research, treatment and education at MD Anderson.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center