JUST IN: The Moody Foundation Awards Children’s Health With $12M To Attract The World’s Top Scientists And Researchers To CRI

At their annual dinner, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation million-dollar donors/members of The Scripps Society had a delicious surprise that had jaws literally dropping at Kathy and Harlan Crow’s home Tuesday night. And while this crowd is renowned for their generosity, they were more than delighted with the news about an uber gift of generosity. The reason was courtesy of The Moody Foundation.

With Francie Moody-Dahlberg and husband Kevin Dahlberg smiling, it was announced that the Foundation had presented a $12 million gift to Children’s Health. The monies will “establish a prestigious faculty scholar program designed to attract the world’s top scientists to Dallas work alongside other researchers at Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI).”

Sean Morrison, Christopher Durovich, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Kevin Dahlberg and Brent Christopher

According to CRI Director Dr. Sean Morrison, “We are deeply honored by this generous gift from the Moody Foundation that will accelerate our ability to make discoveries that improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease in children.”

Jamie Williams and Ralph DeBerardinis

The immediate plan calls for $5M to “create a new Robert L. Moody Sr. Faculty Scholar endowment to support the research of a leading scientist at CRI.” The first Scholar will be Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis, who is director of CRI’s Genetic and Metabolic Program and professor in CRI. Thanks to his laboratory, new strategies have been provided for treating cancer by exploiting metabolic differences between cancer cells and normal cells.”

The Foundation will continue its support of CRI’s world-class medical research “for at least 10 years with a distribution of $700,000 or more every year.”

As Francie put it, “With this gift, we hope to increase the impact of the Children’s Research Institute and attract the most brilliant scientists and researchers from around the globe to North Texas.”

This latest gift brings the total of The Moody Foundation’s support of CRI to $17.35M, “placing it among the top 10 largest cumulative donors for Children’s Health in the system’s 104-year history.”

Children’s Health President/CEO Christopher Durovich summed it up: “Given the established track records of these scientists for finding the pathways to medical breakthroughs, the Moody investment will benefit countless generations yet to come, especially in our relentless pursuit of the discovery of tomorrow’s treatments.”

Once again philanthropy is the reason that North Texas is recognized as a world leader in healthcare research and treatments.  

According to Children’s Medical Center Foundation Brent Christopher, “This is an extraordinary gift. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Moody Foundation, and we’re inspired by this powerful collaboration with one of Texas’ most revered philanthropic families.

 “Permanent, private philanthropic support like this is an invaluable tool for these researchers. It is a unique, reliable resource for proven scientists who are at the top of their game and will launch them into their next phase of life-changing discoveries.”

Ironically, on the first night of the World Series, Brent summed it up, “CRI scientists knock it out each month.” 

Nicely played for the team of  The Moody Foundation, Children’s Health and Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) for generations to come.      

JUST IN: Jordan Spieth Gifts Children’s Pauline Allen Gill Center For Cancer And Blood Disorders Due To Friends Battling Cancer

After being war-torn by all the weather woes from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, local golf wunderkind Jordan Spieth has provided some very uplifting news… and it’s not a hole-in-one. It’s so much better.

His Jordan Spieth Family Foundation has just presented its largest single gift to Children’s Medical Center Foundation to benefit two specific programs at Children’s Health Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders:

  • Child Life Program that “will support services like music, art and pet therapy that are not covered by insurance but are essential for helping children cope with the social and emotional challenges of illness.”
  • Experimental Therapeutics Program in childhood cancer that “will help up to 10 children and their families each year travel to Dallas to take part in clinical trials not offered elsewhere.”

Originally, his foundation’s focus was based on three pillars — special-needs youth, junior golf and military families. But he recently added a fourth area of support — children battling cancer.

Eric Leyendecker, Jordan Spieth, Chris Durovich and Patty Leyendecker*

The reason for the addition was “watching a lifelong friend [Jordan’s childhood friend and former Children’s Health patient Eric Leydendecker] take on a recurring battle with cancer.”

According to Jordan, “Investing this gift in my hometown pediatric hospital, one of the best in the country, is a really special moment for me. There are thousands of children treated for cancer every year at Children’s Health. I have personally lost a friend to it. Recently watching my best friend as he went through treatments inspired us to make this an official pillar of the Foundation. We are eager to help wherever we can.”

Brent Christopher (File photo)

The area of pediatric cancer research has resulted in a survival rate of 58% in the mid-1970s, rising to more than 80% today, thanks to funded research and treatments.

Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher reported, “It is impossible to measure the impact that Jordan Spieth’s generosity will have on children now and into the future. We are so grateful for his commitment to help children battling cancer, as well as his trust in Children’s Health. Jordan’s support will help us deliver the very best care and continue our relentless pursuit of better treatments – and, hopefully, cures – so that one day no child will be faced with cancer.”

* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

JUST IN: Annual Downtown Holiday Parade Is Looking For A New Host

UPDATE: The Adolphus Hotel that was one of the original sponsors of the mega-holiday festivities has signed up for the 2017 parade. Don’t you just know that Santa will have plush digs the night before.

The annual parade that marches through downtown Dallas in early December has had some “adjustments.” In recent year’s Children’s Health has hosted the parade. Out of the past five years, it’s had to be canceled twice (2013 and 2016) due to inclement weather. Describing it as “inclement” is like saying the summer is North Texas is warmish.

Children’s Health Holiday Parade (File photo)

It was just announced that Children’s Health would not be the official host of the event. According to Children’s Health spokesperson Scott Summerall, “After hosting the parade for nearly three decades, we have decided to move forward with other new and meaningful ways to bring cheer to families in our community this holiday season. We are considering ways to celebrate and honor the parade’s history in its 30th year, but are still ironing out details of a potential event. We will continue hosting the other treasured holiday events across our system, including the annual Holiday Tree Lighting at our Dallas and Plano campuses, Breakfast with Santa with the Women’s Auxiliary, and our Holiday Patient Party for families in the hospital. These events are beloved by our patients, families and team members, and are an important component of fulfilling our mission to make life better for children.”

But don’t go thinking that the parade is a goner. According to a report on WFAA at noon, THE Dance Director Jeffrey Giles and former Parade Director Cassie Collins “have filed a permit with the City of Dallas to host the parade, and will be reaching out to sponsors soon.”

BTW, over the years the parade has had such corporations as Southwest Airlines, Neiman Marcus and the Adolphus Hotel provide major support.

How About A Whopper Of A Valentine’s Day Floral Arrangement?

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and it’s to florists what the Super Bowl is to pizza shops. And like pizza, the usual dozen long stem, red roses will be history all too soon. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

But how about a gift of flowers that lasts all year round for the recipient? And the price is less than $100.

Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

It’s an individual membership at the Dallas Arboretum. Not only does it allow the lucky recipient free access to the more-than-60 acres of grounds overlooking White Rock Lake, it also provides a guest to come along free and free parking for one vehicle plus four total reservations to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

And if you want to look like a really big spender, you might want to check out the other levels of membership.

While you’re being such a sweetheart, why not share your love with a child you don’t know but who sure could use that special feeling? You don’t even need a stamp to lick…just a finger to click here!

Rachael And Bob Dedman Have Drs. James Baker And Drew Bird Provide Updates For Children’s Food Allergy Center Supporters

For many parents, the sight of a scape on the knee or full blow hit at a soccer game may seem devastating. For other folks, those childhood nicks and bumps would almost seem like a cheek kiss. Those are parents whose children suffer from life-threatening food allergies.

For some, it can be just a simple peanut that can send their child to the grave. And the threat is very democratic. It knows no difference in race, creed, color or financial standing.

Bob and Rachael Dedman, Nancy Dedman and Brent Christopher

Alicia and Scott Wood

This lesson was well known to Rachael and Bob Dedman, Bob’s mom Nancy Dedman and Alicia and Scott Wood, who spearheaded the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Health. It was when Rachael’s and Bob’s daughter, “Little Nancy Dedman, had her first allergic reaction that snapped the Dedmans’ attention to the amazingly unappreciated medical condition. The result was their gathering up friends and funds to create the Food Allergy Center at Children’s and having Dr. Drew Bird head up the department.

Brett and Cindy Govett

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal

On Tuesday, January 24, the Dedmans opened up their palatial home in Preston Hollow to re-energize the program, complete with Pat and Charles McEvoy, Baxter Brinkman, Cindy and Brett Govett, Dr. Becky Gruchalla, Katy Miller, past Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal and his wife Marnie Wildenthal and Christina Durovich.

Chris Durovich and Brent Christopher

Greeting the 50 or so guests at the entry hall was Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. The pair but especially Chris were remarkably relaxed greeting the attendees, with Chris referring to himself and Brent as “Ping and Pong.” Chris also recalled how, when he was a young man, Ben and Jerry would hand out free ice cream in his Vermont hometown.

Speaking of food, the micro-doubled-baked potatoes placed on silver trays of beans were such a hit that even the most diet-conscious types couldn’t resist ‘em.

Bob Dedman desk

Bust in hallway

Pat and Claude Presidge, like others, wandered back to Bob’s office and discovered the most marvelous desk. In addition to the inlaid leather desktop, there was a fabulous elevated building that extended the full length of the desk that had secret compartments. No surprise. After all, guests had been greeted on either side of the entry hall by TK-foot tall busts of the Dedman daughters (“Little Nancy Dedman and Catherine Dedman).

When the living room was filled to capacity, Rachael introduced Fare (Food Allergy Research and Education) CEO/Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Baker, who told how his organization’s purpose was to fight for the rights of those suffering from food allergies. Just days before, Fare had filed a federal complaint against American Airlines about “the airline’s not allowing passengers with severe nut allergies to pre-board its planes along with other passengers with disabilities.” The reason for the pre-boarding is to allow the passengers “to wipe down their seats and tray tables,” according to Jim.  

Becky Gruchalla and Jim Baker

(Editor’s note: It should be noted that while American does not serve nuts on board, it does serve other nut products and other passengers are allowed to bring nuts on board.)

When the subject of the EpiPen price hike was mentioned, grumbling and not-happy-faces were noted in the crowd.

Drew Bird

  • Brent talked next very briefly, noting that Dallas County has one of the highest populations of children with food allergies in the country. Then Dr. Drew Bird spoke to the group, including his wife Brenda Bird, and introduced his new associate Dr. Christopher Parrish before announcing the opening of a food allergy center branch in Plano.

Points of interests about food allergies from Children’s Health included:

  • Eggs, milk and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children, with wheat, soy and tree nuts also included.
  • Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions.
  • Nearly 5% of children under the age of 5 have food allergies.
  • One in every 13 children in the U.S. — or about two in every classroom in America — has a food allergy.
  • Dallas County has one of the highest rates of food-allergic children in the country.
  • Food-induced allergic reactions send some to the emergency room every three minutes.

Currently, the Food Allergy Center is working with UT Southwestern on such clinical trials as:

  • Miles — The milk patch study is a two-year desensitization study in which patients are randomized to one to three doses or a placebo and wear a small patch between their should blades.
  • Palisade Phase 3 — The peanut oral immunotherapy study is a one-year desensitization trial in which patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. They being with 3 mg. of peanut protein that is gradually increased over 20 weeks to 300 mg.
  • Pepites Phase 3 — The peanut patch epicutaneous immunotherapy study randomizes patients to one to three doses or a placebo delivered via a small patch worn between the shoulder blades.
  • Slit — In this three-year peanut desensitization study, patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. Patients takes very small doses of peanut protein under the tongue daily, gradually increasing the dose to a maintenance level.

Children’s Donor Reception Was Prepared For A Cowboys-Packers Showdown With A Flatscreen In The Dallas Country Club Ballroom

Sundays are usually sorta ho-hum. There are church services and brunches, but otherwise it’s rather calm. And on Sunday, January 15, it should have been especially so, since it was the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend.

That’s why “the Christophers” (Children’s Health President/CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher) figured it would be ideal for the 2nd Annual Thank You Donors reception at the Dallas Country Club.

What wasn’t predicted was Cowboys wunderkind rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott. Thanks to the Cowboys making it to the NFL playoff and the game being played at AT&T Stadium starting at 4 p.m., the snoozy Sunday was no longer so sleepy.

Then there was the Liener Temerlin’s memorial service at Temple Emanu-El’s Stern Chapel at 3 p.m.

Chris and Christina Durovich

This Sunday was truly going into uber drive.

But then, of course, Mother Nature had to add her two cents with rain.

Luckily, Chris and Brent were prepared for the situation. As Brent chatted in the lobby area, Chris and Christina Durovich officially welcomed guests and let them know that a TV was broadcasting the Cowboys-Packers game at the back of the ballroom just past all the tables filled with goodies.

Randy Muck, Carol Bieler and Brent Christopher

When one guest asked Brent, Carol Bieler and Randy Muck about the Cowboys game, Randy quickly corrected the guest saying it was a “Packers game.” Bow-tied Brent smiled, “Randy’s a Packer’s fan.”

Among the early arrivals were new Communities Foundation of Texas President/CEO David Scullin with his wife Susan Scullin, Fran and Bill Carter and Caroline Rose Hunt with Bob Brackbill. Katy and Ken Menges arrived reporting the latest score as they checked in. Katy will be having hip surgery and is glad to have it over with. Annette Leslie sans 25 pounds reported that the Carson Leslie Foundation had ramped up with greater structure.

David and Susan Scullin and Fran and Bill Carter

Katy and Ken Menges

Bob Brackhill and Caroline Rose Hunt

Magda and Dr. Halim Hennes told former Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal that the Children’s ER was on its way to being open. 

Kern Wildenthal and Magda and Halim Hennes

Kern had been an honorary pallbearer at Liener’s services, which were simply flawless with three generations of Temerlins recalling “Papa.” Despite the eloquence of daughter Lisa Temerlin Gottesman and grandson Blake Gottesman, it was great-granddaughter Avery Johl’s telling the story of “The Invisible String” with Rabbi David Stern that was the true memory maker.

In attendance at the service were Gail and Gerald Turner, Marnie Wildenthal, Martha Tiller (sans husband David Tiller, who was preparing for back surgery), Nancy Dedman, Nancy Halbreich, Barbara and Stan Levenson, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain and Wick Allison.

But back to the Children’s reception. As the party closed down with a hair-pulling end to the Cowboys-Packers game, Ma Nature took over the spotlight with tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms. While disappointed Cowboy fans found themselves holed up at AT&T stadium, the Children’s guests were safe at home.

The Two-Day “Christmas Is For Children Radiothon” Resulted In A Record-Breaking $1,262,704 For Children’s Health

KLUV’s Jody Dean seemed to put an extra “oomph” in this year’s two-day “Christmas is for Children Radiothon.” Perhaps it was because he will have his first granddaughter born this April.

And that “oomph” on Thursday, December 8, and Friday, December 9, at Children’s Medical Center resulted in a record-breaking sweet deal — a check for $1,262,704 for Children’s Health.

Jody Dean (File photo)

Jenny Q (File photo)

El Chiquilin (File photo)

Chris Sommer (File photo)

As part of the partnership with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, Jody was joined by other CBS Radio DFW folks like KLUV’s Jenny Q, La Grande’s El Chiquilin, KRLD’s Chris Sommer and 26 patients and families like Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker for the 26-hour fundraiser.

Why La Grande alone broke another record by bringing in a record-breaking “$558,199, making it the No. 1 CMN Hispanic Radiothon in the country.”

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

According to CBS Radio DFW Senior Vice President/Market Manager Brian Purdy, “CBS Radio DFW began the Radiothon partnership 11 years ago to support the incredibly amazing work of Children’s Health. Year after year, the generosity of our listeners continues to humble us as we are reminded of how truly blessed we are here in North Texas.”

In addition to the VIP guests like Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher and former Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal dropping by to visit with the radio personalities, teams from area companies manned the phone accepting contributions.

Local sponsors of the event included presenting sponsor FairLease, phone line sponsor Credit Union of Texas, child champion sponsor Neighborhood Credit Union and others (Albertsons-Tom Thumb, The Children’s Courtyard, Granite Properties, Padrino Foods, Skanska, ReTrak, Dallas Fort Worth Acura Dealers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, ADT Security, Cisco, Marquis Group, UBC and El Rio Supermercados).

If you missed the opportunity to support the Radiothon, you can still support Children’s Health via the Children’s Medical Center Foundation by donating here!

JUST IN: 2016 Radiothon Breaks A Record For Children’s With A Whopping $1,262,704

Well, dang it. All those hours and heart-wrenching stories for the past two days on Children’s Medical Center’s Radiothon made an impression and fueled future life-saving stories. And you came through big time!

Children’s Medical Center Foundation bean counters put their abacuses together  with CBS’s KLUV, KRLD and La Grande accountants and reported that a whopping $1,262,704 was netted.

Jody Dean, Jenny Q, Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

Chances are that KLUV’s Jody Dean doesn’t know. He’s probably in sleep mode after spending countless hours on air interviewing munchkins and parents like Lacey Parker and her mom, Renee Parker, on their OMG relationship with Dallas’ pediatric Trauma One facility.

If you don’t know the importance of this healthcare oasis for kiddos, you’ve probably never held your breath, said a prayer and watched your child struggle for good health.

And while some may regret the cancellation of the Children’s Health Holiday Parade, the patients at Children’s Medical Center are more than grateful for the support of all who supported 2016 Radiothon.

Give yourselves a pat on the back.

Radiothon Revealed A Story How Lacey Parker’s Half Heart Was Made Whole At Children’s Medical Center 12 Years Ago This Month

Jody Dean, Lacey Parker, Renee Parker and Jenny Q

Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker came from DeSoto to chat with KLUV’s Jody Dean and Jenny Q this afternoon at Children’s Medical Center for the fundraiser Radiothon, joining folks like Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s former President Dr. Kern Wildenthal and ADT’s Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch.

Lori Wagoner, Kern Wildenthal and Heidi Cannella

Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch

Connie Yates

That doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Only it wasn’t DeSoto, Texas. The pair came 200 miles from Stonewall, Louisiana, where Lacey attends North DeSoto Middle School.

But the trek wasn’t new for the two. They’ve made the trip twice a year for the past 12 years.

It was in 2004 that Renee discovered that she was six months pregnant and ended up giving birth to Lacey two months later. The moment she saw her daughter, she knew Lacey had Down’s Syndrome. No problem for the Parker family.

But there was a problem. The infant was blue. The doctors at the first hospital more or less told the parents to love Lacey as much as they could, because she probably wouldn’t last three weeks.

Upon hearing the news, Renee was so upset, she went to the bathroom and cried. So much so that the janitor had to remove the door to get Renee out.

Luckily, the Parkers sought a second opinion at Dallas’ Children’s Medical Center and learned that the bottom of Lacey’s heart was missing. So, at the age of six months, she had open heart surgery at the hands of Dr. Stephen Leonard.

But before the delicate, six- to eight-hour-long surgery took place in December 2004, Dr. Leonard and the Parkers made an agreement: if it appeared that they were losing Lacey, he would call them to the “back door” to say “good-bye.”  

After four hours, they got the call. Arriving at the doors and prepared for the worst, they saw Dr. Leonard with Lacey in his arms. For the first time ever, their little girl had a healthy pink color. She went home four days later.

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

Since that time, Lacey has been picked for her middle school cheerleading team and was named Miss Amazing for Louisiana and then Miss National Princess for Miss Amazing.

Her reaction at becoming a cheerleader was taped and went viral and was viewed by millions. The result? Lacey was featured on “Good Morning America,” CNN and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

That story had those in Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium spellbound. But then Jody, Jenny Q and Lacey broke the moment with the question of, “What’s your favorite professional football team?” Louisiana Lacey replied, “The Saints.” Jenny Q pushed the envelope and asked what Lacey’s second favorite team was … “Perhaps a Texas team?” Lacey didn’t hesitate: “No.”

La Grande team

Those are the kind of stories that are being broadcast Friday over KLUV 98.7 and La Grande.

The hope is that donations will be made for little ones like Lacey to have a chance to cheer.

Christmas Is For Children Radiothon Is On Air Thursday And Friday

No sooner was the Children’s Health Holiday Parade’s cancellation in the rear-view mirror, then the Children’s team focused their attention on Children’s Medical Center becoming a radio station Thursday and Friday. No, they’ll still be handling the patients’ needs, but Children’s Medical Center will also be part of the 11th annual Christmas is For Children Radiothon. Broadcasting on 98.7 KLUV in English and La Grande 107.5 in Spanish, local celebrities and kids like Abel Escamilla Jr., Ace Shelton, Lacey Parker, Maddie Smith, Makenna Rodolph, Matthew Maurer, Rina Cantrell, Russell Vitrupp, Serene Zimmerman, Sim Scott, the Sutton Family and Tatum Teague will come together to raise funds benefiting Children’s.

2015 Christmas is For Children Radiothon results*

2015 Christmas is For Children Radiothon results*

Why last year Morning Drive Anchor Jody Dean and the crew provided a check reading $1,003,236 for Children’s Medical Center Foundation.

So while you’re driving around town, switch you radio to KLUV or La Grande and learn about the miracles that happen at Children’s. Who knows? You just might want to add your two cents to the efforts. And if you’re desk-bound, you can always listen via your computer.  

* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

2016 Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball Partied With Painted Faces And Hula Hoops Before Heading To The Circus

On Sunday, August 7, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Baronesses and their kids held the annual Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball honoring the munchkin cancer warriors from Children’s Health and Medical City Children’s Hospital at a party at American Airlines Center’s Old Number 7 before the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

There were kid-friendly swag bags and loads of food, but the real action was divided.

From the left: (adults) Craig Williams, Whitney and Todd Williams, Derrin and Mary Williams, Jamie Williams; (children) Graham Williams, Georgia Williams, Kate Williams, Andrew Williams, Lanier Williams and Phillip Williams

From the left: (adults) Craig Williams, Whitney and Todd Williams, Derrin and Mary Williams, Jamie Williams; (children) Graham Williams, Georgia Williams, Kate Williams, Andrew Williams, Lanier Williams and Phillip Williams

Thanks to presenting sponsor The Moody Foundation, Jr. CBB Co-Chairs Mary C. Corrigan and Lisa Ogle were able to arrange for a couple of activities that were ideal for the pre-show party.

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Kamila Cortes

Kamila Cortes

First was the face decorating. The lineup for face painting was never-ending with four facial artists creating masterpieces. In this situation having a lack of hair was doggone adorable. Fashionista Cassidy Barrett accessorized beautifully with a pink lace headband. Kamila Cortes opted for the pierced ear look and instead of having her face painted, she had a nifty purple cat created on her left arm. When one youngster was asked if he had always been that cute, his reply was: “Yes!”

Across the way, an old-time toy became a real pacesetter — hula hoops! Who would have thought in this day and age of 3D games that the 1950’s hoop would thrill. Needless to say, the adults looked on thinking, “Someone is going to sleep soundly tonight.”

Bella Anderson

Bella Anderson

Maidie Corrigan

Maidie Corrigan

Mary and Lisa provided an additional surprise. Thanks to Luke Lange, each of the young cancer patients received a Luke’s FastBreaks T-shirt. Because Luke has been where these kids have been, these T-shirts are designed to have the cool factor as well as snaps on the side that allow for cancer treatments.

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for tens of thousands of cute faces, both natural and painted!

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Provides Stories About The Family Hero

Children's notice

Children’s notice*

At a time when heroes seem to be needed more than ever,  this upcoming Father’s Day couldn’t come at a better time.

Okay, let’s be very honest. Not all fathers represent the ideal paternal figure. Too often headlines report cases of abuse and neglect by men, who should be on the frontline for the children in their care.

That is why this Sunday is so important to give credit and a pat-on-the-back for the men who nurture and serve as positive role models for kids. Sure, at times these fellas seem to be preoccupied with work and they may spend a bit too much time on the golf course or the couch. But when it comes to their kids, their priorities are right in order.

There are many great stories about these guys. The folks over at Children’s Health have firsthand knowledge of them, having witnessed and worked with those dad-type heroes. As the countdown to Father’s Day is underway, Children’s Medical Center Foundation has provided stories about some of these men, who have been through gut-wrenching times with their kids.

Just look over to the right side of the MySweetCharity page and check the Children’s notice like the one pictured here. A different story will be provided there every other day until Sunday.

BTW, the stories, like the best things in life, are absolutely free for the reading.

* Graphic provided by Children's Medical 
Center Foundation

Children’s Medical Center’s Tree Lighting Glowed With Derek Holland, Jody Dean, Chris Durovich And A Fella In A Red-And-White Suit

A towering tree with lights surrounded by children and their parents knows no specific religious occasion. It is a moment of happiness, bonding and appreciation. On Monday, November 30, Children’s Medical Center’s garden was ground zero for such a moment.

Children's carolers

Children’s carolers

While patients and their families surrounded the sky-high tree, other youthful patrons had to stay in their rooms. Doctor’s orders, don’t you know. But they didn’t miss out on the official lighting, thanks to the Children’s Medical Center crew. With one crew member making sure nothing blocked the camera from the carolers and Texas Rangers Derek Holland, KLUV’s Jody Dean and Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich welcoming Santa, the rest of the TV crew was on target despite the evening’s chill.

Chris Durovich

Chris Durovich

Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Speaking of the night’s temps, there were plenty of patio heaters and each chair in the rows around the tree had a white throw for shoulders.

But there really was no need.

Derek Holland, Seth Fuller and Jody Dean

Derek Holland, Seth Fuller and Jody Dean

The event came off without a hitch with 13-year-old patient Seth Fuller pulling the switch and lighting the major Christmas tree with its multi-colored lights and all the minor league trees lit up in white. For sports-loving Seth it was Christmas coming early. Not only did he get to partner up with Derek on lighting the tree in front of his folks Cheryl Buchanan and Donald Fuller, he also just became a new uncle.

Children's Medical Center clowns

Children’s Medical Center clowns

Then the crowds headed back to the Butterfly Atrium that looked more like Santa’s wannabe party room with Children’s clowns looking like North Pole elves and stacks of Papa John’s pizzas being prepped by Children’s Health’s John McFarland for delivery to munchkins and their families.

But the event was just the kickoff of a busy week for the Children’s staffers. They still had the Annual Children’s Holiday Parade to orchestrate the following Saturday in downtown Dallas.

JUST IN: Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Kicks Off 2016 With Grant News

Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer is starting the year off with zeal and ca-ching.  The organization that “works relentlessly for the day when all children are living cancer-free” is presenting $315,045 to Children’s Health (Dallas) and three other healthcare groups: Michigan State University, Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston) and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Emory Malone*

Emory Malone*

Of the total, $150,000 was “given in honor of Michael Key Malone of Dallas, Texas, who lost his battle in 2012 at the age of seven.” The funds will go to “support two projects fighting neuroblastoma, a horrible pediatric cancer with a low survival rate.”

And the Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer crew had more good news. They revealed that AutoNation provided 25 iPad 4s for “each one of our Ambassador families during last month’s Ambassador Holiday Party.”

Ambassador Holiday Party*

Ambassador Holiday Party*

According to Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer CEO Evelyn Costolo, “Every advancement in curing pediatric cancer has come from research, but cancer is still the #1 disease killer of American children. We are thankful for the support of our donors in 2015 that allowed us to provide funding for critical research initiatives and hope for a cure.”

* Photos provided by Wipe Out Kids' Cancer

Women’s Auxiliary Of Children’s Medical Center Decked The Halls With Loads Of Wreaths

While the doors of The Trains at NorthPark were opening to the public on Saturday, November 21, the Dallas Chapter of Women’s Auxiliary of Children’s Medical Center folks were like Santa’s elves over at Children’s Medical Center. Actually, the gathering looked more like kids themselves. Plus there were a lot of fellas in the crowd.

Southwest Airlines wreath

Southwest Airlines wreath

Santa in a wreath

Santa in a wreath

They were gathered downstairs in the Butterfly Atrium that was filled with 200 individually decorated wreaths arranged by Co-Chairs Brittany George and Kelly Novel. Each one had been sponsored/produced by “Auxiliary members, families, scout troops and corporate groups” for the patients who were in residence for the holidays.

Kelly Novel, Joanna Clarke, Brittany George

Kelly Novel, Joanna Clarke, Brittany George

Women’s Auxiliary President Joanna Clarke fessed up that some of the hottie wreaths were classics that hibernated in a special spots when not at Children’s.

No sooner had instructions been given, than off like reindeer on Christmas Eve the teams with wreaths in hand were on their way to “deck the halls.”

And they didn’t dawdle. They still had to get things lined up for the  27th Annual Breakfast with Santa preceding the 28th annual Children’s Health Holiday Parade.

BTW, don’t expect to see the Auxiliary team early on New Year’s Eve. According to Joanna, they’ll be serving “a special meal to the families in the critical care units.”

If you’re looking for a group to join that has a great time helping others, consider signing up with the Auxiliary.


JUST IN: Thanks To 2015 Christmas Is For Children Radiothon, More Than $1M Will Benefit Children’s Health

It’s about time for some good news. In fact, it’s great news from Children’s Health. When 98.7 KLUV’s Jody Dean and his buds hunkered down in Children’s Medical Center for the 2015 Christmas is for Children Radiothon on Thursday, December 10, and Friday, December 11, they planned on having a jolly good time. But they also were there to raise money for Children’s.

Jody Dean (File photo)

Jody Dean (File photo)

In partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the CBS Radio DFW stations (98.7 KLUV, La GRANDE 107.5 FM and News Radio 1080 KRLD) included stories and interviews with 22 patients and families that had benefited from Children’s resources.

According to Children’s Medical Center Foundation Dr. Kern Wildenthal, “Generous support from our corporate sponsors and community friends make the success of this year’s event possible. We also salute the dedicated team of professionals at CBS Radio for their continued support and passion, highlighted by the extraordinary Jody Dean, whose desire to help children included devoting a remarkable 26 hours to hosting the event on air.”

Christmas is for Children Radiothon*

Christmas is for Children Radiothon*

But it was a two-way street for the children’s healthcare providers and the broadcasters.

CBS Radio DFW Senior VP/Market Manager Brian Purdy said, “Even after all these years of working with the amazing team at Children’s Health on this incredible effort, we continue to be overwhelmed by the response of our listeners. They open their hearts and their wallets with one purpose: To help the next generation of North Texans live life to the fullest. We can’t imagine a better gift.”

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

The results? The efforts resulted in providing $1,003,236 “for the seventh-largest pediatric hospital in the nation.”

Children’s Health President/CEO Christopher J. Durovich summed it up saying, “The incredible patients and families we serve along with the continued generosity of the Dallas-Fort Worth community never cease to amaze us. CBS Radio DFW is one of the strongest supporters in our quest to be by the side of parents across North Texas. We are grateful for their commitment and the community as a whole as we continue to live out our mission of making life better for children.”

Radiothon sponsors included presenting sponsor FairLease, phone-line sponsor Credit Union of Texas, Neighborhood Credit Union, Learning Care Group, Padrino Foods, Skanska, ReTrak, Dallas Fort Worth Acura Dealers, Primrose Schools, Granite Properties, Blue Cross Club Shield, ADT Security and El Rio Grande Latin Market.

For a look at all the goings on, click here and scroll down.

MySweetWishList: Carson Leslie Foundation

According to Carson Leslie Foundation Founder Annette Leslie,

Annette Leslie*

Annette Leslie*

“Carson was considered terminal Christmas Eve and we left the hospital Christmas Day on hospice care. And our hearts draw us back to the cancer floor at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas every Christmas.

“This year the Carson Leslie Foundation (CLF) is working closely with Children’s to fill specific Christmas Wishes for the teenagers battling cancer under their care.

“Many of us know teen wishes tend to be pricy, so any donation would help CLF give a teen cancer patient a Christmas Wish.

“Last year we bought 2 pairs of name brand tennis shoes for a 16-year-old patient. I’ll never forget seeing his eyes dance when he saw those new shoes. This year heart wrenching special requests are streaming in, we would relish help!

“So Carson Leslie Foundation Christmas Wish is to fill a Christmas Wish for each teen battling cancer at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.”

-By Annette Leslie, Carson Leslie Foundation founder

* Photo provided by Carson Leslie Foundation

“Beyond ABC” Annual Report Sheds Light On The Good News And Need For Improvement For North Texas Children

Since 1996 Children’s Health and University of Texas at DallasInstitute for Urban Policy Research have published “Beyond ABC.” No, it’s not a book on spelling or grammar. Think of it as a state of the union report “examining the quality of life for children in North Texas.”

This year’s report is entitled “Beyond ABC: Assessing the Well-Being of Children in Dallas county and the North Texas Corridor,” that includes Dallas, Collin, Cooke, Denton, Fannin and Grayson counties.

Beyond ABC*

Beyond ABC*

On the morning of Tuesday, November 17, the report was presented at Communities Foundation of Texas by a panel made up of Institute of Urban Policy Research at UT-Dallas Director Timothy Bray, North Texas Food Bank Chief Philanthropy Officer Colleen Brinkmann, Commit! Director of Early Education Initiatives Jaime Hanks Meyers, The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence Center Director Anu N. Partap and Children’s Health Pediatric Group President and Medical Director Dr. Ray Tsai.

The findings were in some cases predictable and in others surprising. Here are some of the top facts included:

  1. In 2014, almost half (49.1%) of children in Dallas County public schools grades 3-12 were overweight or obese.
  2. Despite the fact that Dallas ISD has permission to provide free lunches to every student in the district, 27% of Dallas County households are considered food-insecure, well above the national percentage of 14.5.
  3. Only 21% of pediatricians and family practitioners in the six-county region accept all CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) patients.
  4. Almost 30% of Dallas County children (29.8%) live in poverty.
  5. Between 2009 and 2014, the percentage of third-graders who met the standard criteria on the state’s assessment tests fell in each of the six counties. Collin County ranked highest in the region in 2014, with 90.2%; Dallas County ranked lowest in the region, with 70.7%.
  6. Across the six counties, uninsured rates for children have declined over the past five years, due in part to the Affordable Care Act as well as to Medicaid and CHIP.
  7. All six counties have rates lower than the national average of adolescent pregnancies.
  8. Over the past decade, the total number of youths committed to the juvenile justice system fell dramatically in the six counties, from 458 in 2003 to 95 in 2014. The change is weighted heavily by Dallas County’s steep decline in commitments.

The complete 52-page report has been posted in both English and Spanish. Hopefully, the findings will inspire changes for the well being of North Texas children.

*  Graphic courtesy of Children's Health

Christmas Is For Children’s Radiothon Is Music To The Ears For Two Days

Christmas is for Children Radiothon*

Christmas is for Children Radiothon*

This time of year is when happy stories are like the best Christmas carols. Some of the best are those that involve kiddos who have overcome incredible challenges. That’s exactly what is being revealed on 98.7 KLUV both today and tomorrow (Friday, December 11).

Jody Dean (File photo)

Jody Dean (File photo)

It’s the 10th annual “Christmas is for Children Radiothon,” where KLUV personalities like Jody Dean will be at Children’s Health and “conduct personal interview, share heart-warming miracle stories and encourage listeners to make donations.”

Last year’s effort brought in $1,001,275 thanks to the 2014 English and Spanish Radiothons thanks to the partnership of CBS Radio stations with Children’s Health and Children’s Miracle Network.

* Graphic courtesy of 
Children's Health

MySweetWishList: Our Children’s House

According to Children’s Medical Center Foundation Senior Vice President Cyndi Bassel,

Our Children's House*

Our Children’s House*

Children’s Health recently stepped forward to acquire Our Children’s House, which provides highly specialized rehabilitative and transitional care for children with special needs.

“We are so pleased and proud to continue this essential service in our community by providing a ‘home’ for patients and their families with the most challenging and complex needs.

“Our goal is simple: to return each child to his or her optimum level of health. But considerable resources are needed to sustain this multidimensional program, which includes a licensed pediatric hospital for children from infancy through age 18 with developmental or birth disorders, traumatic injury or severe illness. Inpatient specialty areas include neurological rehabilitation, feeding and pulmonary programs.

Children's Medical Center Foundation*

Children’s Medical Center Foundation*

“Our Children’s House also includes nine outpatient clinics across the DFW area that offer care coordination, development screenings and assessments, sleep studies, parent education and support, and even a special needs day care. Outpatient pediatric specialties include physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation, pulmonary problems, feeding difficulties, chronic and recurrent headaches, and speech/language therapy.

Emmy Kaighan*

Emmy Kaighan*

“The stories of lives restored and improved are numerous. One such story is of Emmy Kaighan, who was struck with a devastating brain inflammation at the age of 3 and had to relearn virtually everything. She is now well along her road to recovery at the age of 9, due, in large part, to the superior therapy she has received and continues to take part in at Our Children’s House.

Our Children's House physical therapist with Emmy Kaighan*

Our Children’s House physical therapist with Emmy Kaighan*

“To learn more about Our Children’s House or to support this critical program and children like Emmy, please visit give.childrens.com/och.”

-Cyndi Bassel, Children’s Medical Center Foundation Senior Vice President

* Graphic and photos provided 
by Children's Medical Center 

Ground Broken For Children’s Health Facility In Plano That Will ‘Meet The Needs Of Young Athletes’

Collin County is growing rapidly, especially in its need for pediatric care, Dr. Kern Wildenthal was saying. And, “high-end” pediatrics has been especially underserved there. Wildenthal, president of the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, was explaining why the November 6 groundbreaking for the Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine on the Children’s campus in Plano was such a big deal.

Children's Health Andrews Institute rendering*

Children’s Health Andrews Institute rendering*

Just then Wildenthal was joined by Christopher J. Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Health. Durovich said the four-story, 185,000-square-foot, roughly $50 million facility—which had been planned for at least two years—would house the only pediatric-focused orthopedic institute of its kind in North Texas. Plus, he added with a broad smile, it would boast “the coin of the realm in academia and health care”: 1,000 parking spaces!

During the hour-long groundbreaking ceremony that followed, the Children’s Health chief executive said that while organized sports plays an important role in our society, more—and younger—children are suffering some type of orthopedic injury while participating. As a result, Durovich said, “We developed the Children’s Health Andrews Institute to provide tailored care to meet the needs of young athletes, and to be a resource for parents, coaches, and trainers to help prevent injuries.”

Bill Cawley, James Andrews, Kennedy Spurger, Christopher Durovich, Phillip Myers, and Sally Bane*

Bill Cawley, James Andrews, Kennedy Spurger, Christopher Durovich, Phillip Myers, and Sally Bane*

Those attending the groundbreaking—including John Eagle and Caren Kline (she’s on the Children’s board)—learned that the new institute will include four operating rooms, an imaging center, physical therapy space, and orthopedic and other pediatric clinics. It will also feature indoor and outdoor athletic performance facilities, including a half-size football field and a running track. Construction by general contractor McCarthy Building Cos.—in conjunction with architect FKP—is scheduled for completion in 2017.

The institute was developed under the direction of Alabama-based Dr. James R. Andrews, an internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon who attended the groundbreaking. Andrews, who called the facility “a dream come true,” admitted that his son lives close to the institute. “That’s one of the reasons I did this,” he said. “I want my [grandchildren] to be safe!”

* Graphic and photo provided by Children's Health

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Will Be A Nighttime Soiree And Roger Staubach Wants “To Beat The Hell Out Of This Disease”

The calm before the storm. That was Wednesday, November 4. By evening WFAA’s Pete Delkus still had his jacket on. It would soon to be removed. But before all heck broke loose for another bout with Mother Nature’s rocky personality, lucky fundraisers took a deep breath and filled the day with activities. It started just after 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. Face it — fundraising doesn’t know an eight-hour day.

The launch of the Children’s Cancer Fund Kick-Off breakfast at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s wasn’t supposed to start until 7:45 a.m. But folks were showing up at 7:15 a.m. and the Cooleys were ready.

Lisa had been up at 5 and the crew of caterers and valets were in place at 7 for the near 200 to hear about plans for the 2016 fundraiser.

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

One of the guests in the crowd was Jesuit student Jack Barker, who was also a former classmate of Chance Cooley. Sure, his mom Giora Barker was co-chairing the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund event with Lisa, but there was more to his being there and that would be revealed later.

Speaking of Chance, he couldn’t stay for the presentation. Had to head off to school in an ultra-cool car. As he prepared to drive off, Clay advised his son to drive safely.

Another cute fella in the crowd was Luke Lange, who posed with his folks Tracy and Ben Lange and Children’s Cancer Fund Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach.

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

With guests having business commitments at 9, the program ran like an atomic clock.

Lisa thanked folks for coming and Roger recalled how 28 years ago, when they held the first Children’s Cancer Fund event, “It was beautiful women in lingerie. Boy, we used to have a great turnout for that luncheon…and they still have a great turnout.”

He admitted that over the years there have been some very sad stories, but there have also been some great stories as a result of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s efforts.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Roger then turned the program over to Dr. Stephen Skapek and Dr. Patrick Leavey, who provided updates on children’s cancer.

Despite the barrage of statistics and facts that have been reeled off in the past, the cold reality of Stephen’s voice when he said, “I’m sick of children dying of cancer.”

To put a face with the situation, Giora and Jack took their places in front of the fireplace in the living room that was packed with people. They told of Jack’s successful battle against cancer and how it was due to the funding of research and treatments. Jack, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 12, spent the next three years with Children’s Health healthcare professionals and his family to beat the cancer. In 2010 he was one of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s artisans, who had an army supporting him. Today the 18-year old is on the Jesuit crew team, loves to scuba dive and ski and is his mother’s inspiration. He quickly became an inspiration for the early-morning risers in the room that included Children’s Cancer Fund Board President Karen McClard, Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Brittney Bannon, Coley Clark, Scott Murray and Children’s Cancer Fund Co-Founder Fred Shapiro.

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Unlike years past, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala fundraiser will be a nighttime affair on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole. Lisa explained that by having it at night, it would allow more men to attend and there wouldn’t be the problem of having to leave for an afternoon meeting.

In addition to the fashion show and auction, there will be dinner and entertainment by Emerald City. Tickets start at $300 per person.

According to Roger, they’ll be raffling off “a Clay Cooley car — a 1952 Plymouth.” No, that was just Roger joshing about the Plymouth, but he was right about a Cooley care being raffled off.

But Roger was serious when he said, “We need to beat the hell out of this disease.”

True to their promise, the breakfast meeting was a done deal in time for peeps to be off to those 9 o’clock commitments.

Children’s Medical Center’s Funnyatrics Partnered Up With Ringling Bros. Team To Give Ills And Pills The Day Off

Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium became the big top on Wednesday, July 31. Instead of butterflies fluttering around the Children’s atrium, the place was packed with kids, parents, staffers, face painters, volunteers and a smattering of portable IV’s.





As face artists had both kids and adults lined up for facial portraits, other tables were filled with projects involving sticks and paints. It appeared as if no matter what the age, everyone was enjoying a childhood break.

Some opted for getting front row seats for the performances of the day presented by members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey troop. No, no animals were part of the entertainment. It was strictly professional humans like towering Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and mini-acrobat Paulo dos Santos.

Children's Funnyatrics with Ringling's troopers

Children’s Funnyatrics with Ringling’s troopers

But before they took centerstage, the Children’s Funnyatrics medical team moseyed throughout the crowd. P. Brain admitted that he felt right at home with the circus crew. Before joining the Children’s team, he had been with Ringling’s.

Clown shoes

Clown shoes

Clown red noses

Clown red noses

Some of the munchkins raised an eyebrow about the docs with the big red noses and weird shoes. Some were mesmerized by the whimsy served up by the medical team with funny faces.

Why, one wee patient still attached to an IV couldn’t help but become a groupie for Paulo as she wandered on to the floor gazing at him in amazement.

A "groupie" seeking out Paulo dos Santos

A “groupie” seeking out Paulo dos Santos

But it wasn’t just an occasion for the kid patients. Their parents seemed both relieved and charmed by the circus festivities that transformed the medical center into a one-ring circus.

Avery and her mom

Avery and her mom

Scotty and Izaia

Scotty and Izaia

As for the clowns, their energy, magic and shenanigans became contagious as they made the ills of the day vanish as red noses were dispensed and smiles bloomed.

On the balcony overlooking the atrium and along the wall downstairs, Children’s staffers and volunteers watched as Children’s clowns joined with the Ringling’s team to do their specialty — create smiles. As one person explained, the international language of clowns is laughter.

For more funny pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: David Biegler Receives Texas Healthcare Trustees’ 2015 Founders’ Award

It’s always nice to hear a local honored by a state organization. That’s especially true when it comes to the nonprofit sector. Well, one of those situations took place Friday in Austin. Children’s Health Board of Directors Chair David Biegler received the 2015 Founders’ Award from the Texas Healthcare Trustees (THT) “in recognition of his outstanding service on behalf of a Texas hospital.”

Established back in 1972, the award has been “presented annually to a significant Texas health care trustee who exhibits the qualities of commitment and distinction in the community and in his or her leadership role.”

According to THT President/CEO Stacy G. Cantu, “David Biegler has been on a mission to make life better for children for decades and his dedication to Children’s Health in Dallas demonstrates that commitment. His 40 years of experience in the energy industry has brought valuable insight and leadership capabilities into his role on the board.”

Having been a member of the Children’s Medical Center Foundation since 1987, David has been chairman of the Children’s Health Board of Directors since 2006.

Children’s Health President/CEO Christopher Durovich said, “David has been a mentor to his board colleagues, to me and to our leadership team. As Children’s Health enters its second century of service, his legacy will be felt by the children and families who place their sacred trust in us as we fulfill our mission of making life better for children.”