Back in 1980 Cindy Brinker Simmons created Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer to help children and their families battling cancer. She was inspired to found this organization by the death of her mother Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly Brinker‘s from cancer. In 2005, “The Spirit of Little Mo” awards were established to “honor community leaders who represent Maureen Connolly Brinker’s spirit of hard work, humility, compassion and excellence and have a commitment to eradicating childhood cancer.”
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of WOKC, the inaugural Normal Brinker Humanitarian Award was created to honor Cindy’s father, the late Norman Brinker.
This Friday the WOKC 30th Anniversary Gala will take place at the Adolphus Hotel to present the awards to these very deserving people with Honorary Chairs Annette and Craig Leslie, whose 17-year-old son, Carson, lost his battle with medulloblastoma earlier this year.
Receiving the awards at the event will be:
Normal Brinker Humanitarian Award —
- Pat and Pete Schenkel “for their extensive community support and philanthropic service to the Dallas community.
Spirit of Little Mo —
- Cristy Ecton of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas has been named the recipient of the Education & Awareness Award which recognizes an individual who has served as an activist for children with cancer and their families, promoting awareness and advocating research funding. As Outreach Manager of the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders (CCBD) at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Ms. Ecton is the “face” and “voice” of the CCBD and her superb work as the focal point of the CCBD has contributed immensely to increasing public education and awareness for both the cause of childhood cancer and the Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer organization.
- Dr. Meaghan Granger of Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth has been named the recipient of the Medical & Health Achievement Award which recognizes outstanding contributions in research, treatment, and education by members of the medical or health professions in pediatric cancer. Dr. Granger, a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology physician, is a true pioneer in neuroblastoma treatment and was selected because of her commitment to eradicating pediatric cancer and for her outstanding success in leading the efforts in the neuroblastoma research community. Thanks to her efforts in bringing cutting edge therapies and treatments locally, children in North Texas and across the country have benefitted.
- Jersey Mike’s Subs has been named the recipient of the Philanthropy Award which recognizes outstanding generosity, charity, or patronage of pediatric cancer initiatives. Jersey Mike’s Subs epitomizes the cutting edge in corporate philanthropy: combining generous donations with the fullest possible integration of the business with the charity’s goals, beneficiaries, and programs. Jersey Mike’s has been a great partner to WOKC through its generosity, support and resources given to the WOKC mission of eradicating pediatric cancer. In just a little more than a year, Jersey Mike’s has sponsored creative campaigns that raised phenomenal sums and created priceless awareness for WOKC. The company has set a standard of excellence in philanthropy in general and toward WOKC specifically.
- Lori Freeland has been named the recipient of the Volunteerism Award which recognizes outstanding service and significant volunteer contributions on behalf of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer. Mrs. Freeland is the spirit, heart, and hands behind the WOKC Buddy Bag program which provides a bag of hospital stay necessities to each child admitted to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for cancer treatment. As the mom of a child with cancer (Kyle is now in remission), she wanted to help other families faced with the shocking cancer diagnosis and the unexpected sudden hospital admission. She started the Buddy Bag program and still administers it today. Getting the Buddy Bag contents donated and keeping them stuffed, stocked, and delivered to Children’s Medical Center is an enormous commitment of Lori’s heart and time.
Cindy said, “Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer is pleased to have the chance to honor these six people. They honor my parents’ memories more than anything else could. This is how great things happen – how wiping out kids’ cancer will one day be a reality. Not by one single breakthrough, but by the extraordinary efforts of people like these award recipients, making their talents work for the good of others.”
Cindy, you’re doing your folks proud.
Event sponsors include:
- Celebrating Success — Margot and Ross Perot
- Changing Lives — Kenny Can Foundation and Mary and Mike Poss/Living Green Designs
- Researching a Cure — Brinker International, Cindy Brinker Simmons and family and Rosemary Haggar Vaughan Family Foundation
- Sharing the Vision — Ann Cain, Dean Foods Company, Inwood Village Pediatrics, Paula and Bob Strasser, Safeway, Inc./Tom Thumb, Toni and Norman Brinker Fund, UT Southwestern Medical Center/Southwestern Medical Foundation and Wells Fargo
- Presenting Sponsor – American Airlines
- VIP Cocktail Reception Sponsor – Jersey Mike’s
- Media Sponsor – Modern Luxury