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Saket Ashar, 13, of Irving Saket Ashar will participate in the 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

Two Irving residents, Sakat Ashar, 13, and Juan Mauricio Lopez, 10, will participate in the 27thAnnual Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon on Friday, April 17, 11:30 a.m., at the Hilton Anatole. Longtime Honorary Event Chairmen Troy Aikman (chaired for 18 years) and Roger Staubach (chaired for all 27 years) will join Luncheon Committee Co-Chairs Cara Serber and Kathleen Strand, along with an outstanding lineup of celebrities and local media, to take the runway with 21 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. 

Sakat Ashar is in the eighth grade at Coppell Middle School West and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 11.  When he heard he was asked to participate in the show he said, “I am excited for the fashion show because it is a great opportunity and a way to encourage other kids.  It shows the light close to the end of the tunnel.”

Ashar has an older brother, Sahil, and his favorite school subject is biology.  He wants to be a pediatric oncologist when he grows up. On the weekends, he likes to relax, read, play video games, and do the occasional school assignment. His parents are his heroes because they try to give him the best life possible, no matter what the circumstance. Ashar is happy when he achieves things not a lot of people have done, like receiving awards.  His favorite singers are Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Adam Levine, and Michael Jackson.

If Ashar could visit anywhere in the world, he would go to Europe to visit all of the car factories and stores.

Children’s Cancer Fund brings together local celebrities, dignitaries, sponsors, and media personalities who attend the luncheon to serve as runway escorts for the Children’s Health Children’s Medical Center patients modeling in the fashion show. The luncheon and fashion show raise 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. Current escorts include Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, current Dallas Cowboys players, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Miss Texas Teen USA, Miss Texas America.

The theme of this year’s show is western, and when Ashar was asked what his favorite thing about being a cowboy was, he said, “having an aura of toughness around me to make me feel like he can do anything.”

Juan Mauricio Lopez is in the fourth grade at Lee Britain Elementary School in Irving and was diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma at the age of 8.  He has an older sister, Andrea.

“My favorite school subject is reading, and I want to be a doctor at Children’s Medical Center when I grow up,” said Lopez.  “I am excited to dress up for my first fashion show.”

On the weekends, Lopez likes to play soccer, go to church, and play PlayStation.  His hero is his Uncle Oscar because he is so special to him. His favorite book is Wild Earth, and his favorite movie is Jurassic Park.  If he could visit anywhere in the world, he would go to Zacatecas, Mexico, to visit his family. His favorite part about being a cowboy would be wearing a cowboy hat and boots.

In addition to being runway models, both boys were asked to submit original art for the 2015 Children’s Cancer Fund Inspiration Book that will be unveiled at the show in support of pediatric cancer research.  The photo book will include photos of the children, event chairs and physicians as well as original artwork by the cancer patients participating in the fashion show. CCF Inspiration Books are $15 each.

“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 luncheon are $150 each or $1,500 per table of 10.   Contact Children’s Cancer Fund at 972-664-1450 or visit their website at 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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