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Rina Cantrell, 5, of Lakewood Rina Cantrell, 5, of Lakewood, to participate in 27th Annual Children's Cancer Fund Luncheon-photo by David Quisenberry


Beloved Event Features Cancer Patients, Survivors, Celebrities and Sponsors in a Fashion Show

As They Take the Runway for Pediatric Cancer Research


When Rina Cantrell, 5, of Lakewood heard she had been selected to join other kids as a runway model and artist in the 27th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon, she said, “Oh, I am very excited to walk on the runway and show off a new pretty outfit at the fashion show!”

Diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 2, Cantrell is in Pre-K at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Preschool in Dallas.  She will join 20 other children who are patients at Children’s Medical Center to participate in this annual event.  Each child picks out a new outfit, compliments of Dillard’s, that he or she models in the fashion show and can keep.

Longtime Event Chairmen Troy Aikman (chaired for 18 years) and Roger Staubach (chaired for 27 years) will join Luncheon Committee Co-Chairs Cara Serber and Kathleen Strand, along with celebrities and local media, on Friday, April 17, 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Anatole, to take the runway with these young cancer patients and pediatric cancer survivors in a fashion show, sponsored by Dillard’s and produced by RSC Show Productions.  KDFW FOX 4 News Anchors and supporters Steve Eagar and Clarice Tinsley serve as Master and Mistress of Ceremonies at the event.  The luncheon is slated to raise over $450,000 for pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children’s Medical Center, benefiting children worldwide. 

Cantrell has two older sisters, an older brother, and a dog named Milo. She loves playing outside and swinging with her brothers and sisters, and she also loves to turn the music up and dance with her sisters.  Cantrell would like to be a veterinarian when she grows up.  Her hero is Maggie Wunderlick, a teenager who was fighting cancer at the same time she was and is always there to share a hug and a smile. If she could visit anywhere in the world, she would go to Disney World.

The 27th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon and fashion show not only raises awareness and funds for children’s cancer research and programs at Children’s Medical Center, it also serves as a positive social-psychological experience for children undergoing cancer treatment.   For children such as Cantrell, who have been through so much in their young lives, it’s a fun day with local celebrities, media personalities, and sponsors who walk the runway with them for pediatric cancer research. 

This year’s luncheon has a western theme.  Organizers asked Cantrell what her favorite part about being a cowgirl would be, and she replied, “Riding a pink horse!”

Her favorite school subject is drawing, and she was very excited to submit her original artwork, which will be featured in the 2015 Children’s Cancer Fund Inspiration Book for sale at the luncheon.

This event provides a break for these kids – a day away from hospitals and treatments.  The children are there for most of the day with backstage entertainment, lunch, and a fun time meeting local celebrities who serve as their escorts.

“With over $7 million in funds raised, since 1982, for pediatric cancer research, Children’s Cancer Fund continues to fund critical research while improving treatments for hundreds of children throughout the greater North Texas community,” said Luncheon Committee Co-Chair Cara Serber. “A significant amount of these funds are raised through this annual luncheon.  This day brings children living with cancer together for an unforgettable, embracing, and heartwarming experience.”

Tickets are $150 each or $1,500 per table of 10.   Contact Children’s Cancer Fund at 972-664-1450 or visit for reservations and more information.  This year raffle tickets for $100 (or 6 for $500) will be sold in advance of and at the event for a chance to receive a 2015 NISSAN Altima, 2015 NISSAN Rogue or $20,000 cash prize donated by Clay Cooley Automotive Group.

The finale of the show each year is a special time for all the children, both those currently battling cancer and the survivors, to join together on stage.  Amber Carrington and Justin Rivers, both from NBC’s “The Voice,” will sing for the finale of the show. 

Children’s Cancer Fund was founded 33 years ago by a coalition of parents whose children were receiving cancer therapy at Children’s Medical Center.  The organizers have since been joined by community leaders, dedicated volunteers, and health professionals in their fundraising efforts.  CCF is one of the nation’s leading fundraising groups in supporting local research toward treatment and prevention of childhood cancers.  Among the programs supported by Children’s Cancer Fund are the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program at Children's Medical Center and the Children's Cancer Fund Comprehensive Center for Research in Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, which is gaining a national reputation for its work in eradicating childhood cancer.  In 2002, Children’s Cancer Fund initiated funding for a full-time Child Life Assistant at Children’s Medical Center’s Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders to assist the outpatient team.  The primary goal of the Child Life Assistant is to make each of the 80-90 daily outpatients’ visits a more positive experience.  This position is funded annually by CCF, helping to ease the emotional strain of ongoing treatments, some lasting several years.

“The enthusiasm, support, and generosity in the ballroom the day of the fashion show is nothing short of inspiring,” said Luncheon Co-Chair Kathleen Strand. “It’s very humbling to see everyone come together with their time, treasures, and talents for the children. This level of commitment enables Children’s Cancer Fund to pursue strategic investments in research, ensuring CCF is truly a movement for a pediatric cancer-free tomorrow.”  

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