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Karla Salazar, 14, of Fort Worth Karla Salazar 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

 

When Karla Salazar, 14, heard she was asked to participate in the April 17 Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon, she exclaimed, “I am so excited to meet new kids and try on new clothes to wear at the fashion show!”

Diagnosed with Hodkins Lymphoma at the age of 12, Salazar is now in the eighth grade at Forest Oak Middle School in Fort Worth. She has an older brother, an older sister, and a Shih Tzu named Mona. She wants to be a cosmetologist when she grows up, and she enjoys arts and crafts, shopping, and looking at American Girl doll things. Her parents are her heroes because they help her through her pain.

The 27th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon and fashion show on April 17, 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Anatole, 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 Salazar, 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. 

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 21 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. 

Salazar’s favorite school subject is art, and she was thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute original artwork to the 2015 Children’s Cancer Fund Inspiration Book for sale at the luncheon for $15, with proceeds going toward pediatric cancer research.

“This drawing represents that cancer can take away some things but never the love of your family,” added Salazar.

Baking is another favorite hobby of Salazar’s, and if she could visit anywhere in the world, she would go to Washington, D.C., and meet the owners of DC Cupcakes, where she would also like to taste one.

This year’s luncheon has a western theme.  Organizers asked her what her favorite part about being a cowgirl would be, and she replied, “the clothes, of course!”

 

The annual luncheon 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 www.ChildrensCancerFund.com 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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