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Jordan McDowell, 6, of Grand Prairie She will participate in the 27th Annual Children's Cancer Fund Luncheon April 17 - 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

Two Grand Prairie students will participate in the 27th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon on April 17 at the Hilton Anatole.  Jordan McDowell, 6, and Xavier Duran, 7, are two of 21 young cancer patients at Children’s Medical Center selected to be runway models and artists in this year’s event, on Friday, April 17 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Anatole.  

Longtime Event Chairmen Troy Aikman (chaired for 18 years) and Roger Staubach (chaired for 27 years) join Luncheon Committee Co-Chairs Cara Serber and Kathleen Strand, along with celebrities and local media, to take the runway with these young cancer patients and numerous pediatric cancer survivors in a special runway fashion show, sponsored by Dillard’s and produced by RSC Show Productions.  KDFW FOX 4 News Anchors and supporters Steve Eagar and Clarice Tinsley will 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. 

When Jordan McDowell found out found out she was going to be able to participate, she told her family, “I’m very excited about dressing up and having lots of fun in the fashion show!”

Diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor (kidney cancer) at the age of 5, McDowell is in kindergarten at Garner Elementary School in Grand Prairie. Her artwork will be featured in the 2015 Children’s Cancer Fund Inspiration Book for sale at the luncheon.  Her favorite subject in school is art.

“I like to color, and I also enjoy reading and playing games with my cousins and family,” added McDowell.  “For my artwork, I copied a painting that my great-grandmother, Nana, painted.”

McDowell has a younger sister, Leslie, and two Pomeranians, and she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.  Her daddy is her hero because she loves him so much, and he does so many nice things for her like taking her to dinner and playing games. Her favorite singer is Johnny Cash. If she could visit anywhere in the world, she would go to her Mimi and Papa’s house in Marble Falls, Texas.  She also enjoys watching deer with her Papa.

Diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 1, Xavier Duran is in the second grade at Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy in Grand Prairie. He has two brothers and three dogs. His favorite school subject is science, and he wants to be an oncologist when he grows up.  He enjoys relaxing with family, playing baseball, wrestling, and coloring. His heroes are his parents and Pops because they teach him how to make good choices and be a good person.  His favorite singer is Eminem. If he could visit anywhere in the world, he would go to New York so he could play chop sticks on the piano at FAO Schwarz.  His art will also be featured in the 2015 Children’s Cancer Fund Inspiration Book.

“I am excited to wear nice clothes at the fashion show,” said Duran.

This year’s luncheon has a western theme.  Organizers asked McDowell what her favorite part about being a cowgirl would be, and she replied, “Wearing boots!”  Duran replied that his favorite part about being a cowboy would be, “Wearing a cowboy hat and boots!”

The annual event raises awareness and funds for children’s cancer research and programs at Children’s Medical Center while serving as a positive social-psychological experience for children undergoing cancer treatment.  

“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 for the 27th Annual Luncheon 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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