Home » Event commemorates decade of pediatric cancer care in Rio Grande Valley
April 26, 2010 – Baylor College of Medicine
State and local leaders and members of the community will join health care providers at a luncheon May 3 commemorating a decade of the local fight against childhood cancer.
It was 10 years ago that the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation, Inc. partnered with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital to found the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic in McAllen.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst will be the featured speaker at the “Celebration of Heroes” lunch. He will talk about the state’s initiative to find better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat cancer.
The lunch is set for noon at the McAllen Country Club and will be preceded by an 11:30 VIP reception.
“At this event, we want to honor and recognize our heroes: the founders of this clinic, the medical providers, the donors and supporters and most importantly, the bravest heroes of them all – young patients and their families,” said Dr. Ken Landrum, chairman of the Vannie Cook Cancer Foundation.
The Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic opened its doors in 2001 and has seen almost 5,000 patients, who would otherwise have to travel away from home for live-saving treatment.
A grant of $22,800 from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) will be presented at the luncheon to support patient needs at the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic. It will presented by Jimmy Mansour, founding chairman of the CPRIT Oversight Committee, and accepted by Dr. Juan Carlos Bernini, medical director of the south Texas clinic.
Other speakers at the luncheon include Dr. David Poplack, director of Texas Children’s Cancer Center and deputy director of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, and Adrian Vela, a former patient at the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic who is now a premed student at the University of Texas Pan America.
Landrum and his wife, Carolyn, along with Kathy and Jim Collins are honorary chairs of the lunch. Kathy Collins is vice chair of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation.
The foundation provides resources for cancer treatment, research, cancer genetics and education in the Rio Grande Valley. Its goal is to ensure that local children who suffer from cancer and blood diseases receive the most up-to-date care and treatment without the need to leave the region and regardless of ability to pay.
Others who will attend the luncheon include Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., state Rep. Veronica Gonzales, McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez, Texas Children’s Hospital CEO Mark Wallace and Marc Shapiro, chair of the Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees.
Lt. Governor Dewhurst and leaders from the Vannie Cook Foundation and the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic as well as those from the Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital will be available for media interviews following the luncheon.
Event sponsors include HEB, First National Bank, Frank Smith Toyota, Doctors’ Hospital at Renaissance, RRP Cancer Foundation and the Kenedy Memorial Foundation.
The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic, a joint effort of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Cancer Center is the region’s first state-of-the-art pediatric hematology/oncology clinic. In addition to offering diagnostic and treatment services, the clinic provides cancer genetic counseling to individuals and families concerned about their risk of cancer, offers the services of a long term survivor program which follows childhood cancer survivors through adulthood, and conducts childhood cancer epidemiology research through a joint program with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Learn More