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Support for Children's Cancer Hospital

Family Matters - Winter 2012

MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCH) counts on the kindness of others to support its programs for young patients. Here are just a few recent examples that benefit the hospital.

Chairs for Charity

Old chairs can be works of art. Just ask students at H.G. Blake Elementary in Medina, Ohio.

Thanks to their creative efforts, last year’s Chairs for Charity fundraising activity raised $4,470 for CCH.

After the fifth-graders turned the chairs into works of art, the chairs were auctioned along with 20 themed baskets donated by classrooms.

This year, the students selected CCH to receive proceeds from their event.

They were inspired to learn that 100% of their donation would go toward the actual work of the hospital. In addition, because many of the students’ families have been impacted by cancer, they were interested in helping to find a cure.

As a more direct reason for selecting CCH to receive the funds, a cousin of one of the fifth-graders is in treatment there. This student was a persuasive advocate in that selection.

Teachers from the school donated time for the auction, and inspired and guided the students’ creativity. Local businesses, members of the school staff and administration, and numerous dedicated PTO volunteers helped run the event to make it an overwhelming success.

Leen Aldarrab joins fellow patients launching a partnership
with Crave Cupcakes and the Arts in Medicine program.

Taking a bite out of cancer

Crave Cupcakes has added an important ingredient to its recipe for success — philanthropy.

The popular Houston-area bakery is partnering with the Arts in Medicine Program, which offers patients at CCH a creative outlet through integrative and group art projects.

Beginning in September 2011, the bakery packaged cupcakes delivered to the Texas Medical Center in boxes with specially designed stickers, denoting that a portion of proceeds will go to the program.

“We’re so excited to be working with Arts in Medicine,” says Elizabeth Harrison, part owner of Crave Cupcakes. “Earlier this year, we had our first cupcake decorating and art party. Patients decorated their own Crave cupcakes, and they had the opportunity to participate in expressive painting. We took a number of the paintings and created mixer shapes to promote our partnership.”

Ian Cion, program director of the Arts in Medicine Program, hopes it has a positive and lasting impression for pediatric patients facing health challenges.

A festival that fights back

Varsity softball player, class officer, senior prom committee chair — Jennifer Haynie was an inspiration to her classmates at Pearland (Texas) High School and to everyone she knew.

Her future was bright in 2007 as she prepared for graduation and the fall semester at Texas A&M University. But a diagnosis of osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, changed Jennifer’s life in an instant.

Face painting was one of many family activities at the 
annual Haynie Spirit Festival and BBQ Fundraiser in 2011.

As an athlete, she learned to ignore the occasional aches and pains associated with competition. But in December 2006, she noticed the pain in one of her legs wasn’t going away. In fact, it became more intense.  

Doctors at CCH determined the cancer had spread to Jennifer’s lungs. During the next year she underwent radiation therapy, two lung surgeries and monthly chemotherapy.  

In April 2008, Jennifer and her family faced the devastating news that the cancer had continued to spread. She succumbed to the disease the following month.

The sisters of Jennifer’s mother were a source of inspiration and support, and had encouraged Jennifer to continue the fight against osteosarcoma. To honor her daughter’s spirit, Mary Haynie decided to found the Haynie Spirit Bone Cancer Foundation.

Through their annual Haynie Spirit Festival and BBQ Fundraiser, they have supported the research of Peter Anderson, M.D., and helped meet the financial needs of osteosarcoma patients and their families.

Philanthropy 101

Financial reports aren’t typically part of Christmas Day festivities, especially for children. But for Joe and Linda Fowler’s grandchildren, they’re a highly anticipated holiday tradition.

It all started several years ago at the Houston couple’s urging.

“We have nine grandchildren, and one of our goals is to stay involved in their lives and have a positive influence on them,” Joe says. “We teach them that there’s more self-satisfaction in giving than receiving, and that life is about more than just yourself.”

Each year right after Thanksgiving, Joe and Linda give money to each grandchild with instructions to donate to a worthy organization of their choice before Christmas. On Christmas Day, the grandchildren deliver financial reports to the entire family detailing where and why they donated their money.

Three of the Fowlers’ grandchildren — sisters Annaliese, 10, Olivia, 8, and Samantha, 6 — decided to combine their money and grant a wish for one pediatric patient to attend the CCH rehabilitation ski trip.

The girls learned about the wish through the annual MD Anderson fundraiser known as the Santa’s Elves Party. Prior to each party, pediatric patients create a wish list for Santa that’s displayed on a giving tree. The Fowler girls wasted no time in deciding to become Santa’s Elves and grant one of those wishes.

“It was a chance to do something nice for a child who has cancer,” Olivia says. “And now I feel like that patient is my friend.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center