Friday, March 24, 2017

Future of Children's Hospital can't be a return to the past

Read the full op ed at


"The current uncertainty at University Hospitals is a rare opportunity to elevate Children's Hospital and children's health care in Oklahoma."

"The future foundation of Children's Hospital, effecting treatment options for Oklahoma's most ill children, will be established by the authority in the next few weeks and months."

Monday, March 20, 2017

#ChildrensHospitalsWeek Announced for March 20-27, 2017

Awareness week encourages support for Children’s Hospital Foundation

Oklahoma City, OK [March 17, 2017] – To shine a light on the importance of children’s hospitals and how donations help kids get the best care when they need it, Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) is pleased to participate in the first #ChildrensHospitalsWeek, scheduled for March 20-27. CHF is one of 170 member Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) across North America participating in the weeklong initiative.

The following activities encourage support for children’s hospitals March 20-27:
  • Participate in the “My Miracle Child” bandage campaign on social media: Sport a bandage and write on it the name of a child who has benefitted from a children’s hospital, take a photo and share it with #ChildrensHospitalsWeek.
  • Celebrate Free Cone Day at Dairy Queen on Monday, March 20: Fans can receive a free, small soft serve cone at participating locations nationwide. Some locations will use this high-traffic day to raise critical funds for the local children’s hospital by accepting donations. 
  • Tune in to a Facebook Live-athon hosted by Nick Cannon on Friday, March 24, at 10 a.m. (EST): The exciting, two-hour live event will feature appearances by Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields, legendary NFL quarterback Steve Young, singer Alli Simpson and a “Champion” child from every state and Canada, similar to CMN Hospitals’ trademark telethons. Catch the action at
  • Join the Twitch stream for Extra Life United from Thursday, March 23 – Saturday, March 25: Extra Life United is a gaming tournament where attendees experience the mission of CMN Hospitals, connect with other Extra Lifers from around the world, and compete in a gaming tournament to unlock a prize pool of at least $150,000 in funds for their local CMN Hospitals. The event will be broadcast live on Twitch.
  • Tune in for the Ace Hardware Celebrity Golf Shootout on Monday, March 27, at 5 p.m. (EST) on Golf Channel: A field of eight athletes competed in a series of golf challenges in early February 2017 in Hawaii. This year’s Ace Shootout raised more than $2 million for CMN Hospitals. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Ace Hardware Celebrity Golf Shootout has raised more than $20 million for kids treated at member CMN Hospitals.

#ChildrensHospitalsWeek will coincide with CMN Hospitals’ annual “Momentum” event, a gathering of 62 Champion kids from each state and Canada, along with CMN Hospitals’ hospital, corporate, radio and television partners near Orlando, Florida.

Ten-year-old Samantha was diagnosed three years ago with Chiari Malformation, a congenital defect in her skull. Samantha was also diagnosed with Scoliosis and Syringomyelia, disorders that affect her spinal cord. Samantha underwent decompression surgery in hopes of relieving some of her symptoms including back pain, stomach migraines, numbness and dizziness. 

Today, Samantha enjoys singing, art and swimming. She is a sweet girl who enjoys helping others. There is no cure for Samantha, but she believes that one day research doctors will discover one. Until then, she enjoys raising awareness and funds to support research and education through Children’s Hospital Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network.

“By establishing #ChildrensHospitalsWeek in 2017, we’re taking the opportunity to honor not only our Champions and partners, but also the hundreds of children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada who impact the lives of millions of children annually,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. “We’re reminded daily of the fact that contributions of all sizes add up to provide critical funding for pediatric medical equipment, services, research and charitable care, and that community donations are vital for local kids in need.”

Children’s Hospital Foundation funds pediatric research and education programs, ultimately supporting The Children’s Hospital in serving every county in Oklahoma with more than 233,000 patient encounters. All funds raised through Children’s Hospital Foundation stay in Oklahoma so children will have access to exceptional pediatric specialists without having to leave the state, and no child is turned away from our programs regardless of ability to pay. 

To support Children’s Hospital Foundation, please call 405-271-2260 or visit

Children’s Hospital Foundation is a nonprofit 501c (3) organization in Oklahoma improving the health of children. Since its inception in 1983, Children’s Hospital Foundation, through its volunteer board, vast community support, and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals campaign has funded pediatric re-search and education programs including collaborative projects with the OU Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, OU Children’s Physicians and the University Hospitals Authority and Trust. For more information, contact Chief Executive Officer Kathy McCracken at 405.650.1718 or visit our website:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

CBS Sunday Morning: Pediatric cancer: Miracles in small packages

CBS Sunday Morning this week focused on cancer treatment.

This piece touches on successes in fighting pediatric cancer and the medical challenges that can come with survival.

“'We’re making advances in certain childhood cancers that we hadn’t envisioned five years ago,' said Dr. Peter Adamson, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who heads up the nationwide Children’s Oncology Group.

"If there’s a downside to saving children’s lives, it’s that most young cancer survivors are in for problems down the road.

“'We have children who as teenagers require hip replacements because of our treatment,' said Dr. Adamson. 'Then, there are a number of children who by the time they’re in their 20s, early 30s experience heart failure.'”

Link to story

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Treatment advances have not improved long-term health status of childhood cancer survivors

The long-term health status of childhood cancer survivors is poor according to research published last fall in the Annals of Internal Medicine
"Because survival rates after a diagnosis of childhood cancer have improved substantially over the past 30 years, the population of survivors now includes those who would have died in earlier decades. Self-reported health status among survivors has not improved despite evolution of treatment designed to reduce toxicities."
According to a Nov. 7, 2016 press release from the American College of Physicians
"Treatment advances have not improved long-term health status of childhood cancer survivors."
"Despite an overall decline in radiation exposure, reduced mean chemotherapy doses, and decreased proportions of survivors with more severe chronic health conditions, patient-reported health status generally did not improve across treatment decade."
Primary funding for the research was provided by the National Cancer Institute.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Study may explain vulnerability of young cancer patients to treatment toxicities

It is well documented that children who survive cancer are significantly more likely to suffer from negative late effects from treatment than are adults who are treated for and survive cancer.

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have discovered a potential explanation for why brain and heart tissues in very young children are more sensitive to collateral damage from cancer treatment than older individuals.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

New Health System Impact on Pediatric Patients

What does a new health system partnership mean for pediatric patients of OU Children's Hospital and OU Children's Physicians?

A new integrated services agreement between the University Hospitals Authority and Trust (UHAT), the University of Oklahoma and SSM Health’s St. Anthony Hospitals and Physicians Group was announced a week ago Friday. Pending regulatory approvals, the new partnership will become effective in the first half of next year when the Hospital Corporation of America, the current operator of OU Medical System hospitals and facilities, will conclude its relationship with UHAT and OU.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Management changes at OU hospitals announced

That the management of OU Children's Hospital along with other facilities is to be taken over by the parent company of St. Anthony was announced yesterday. Read the full story at the Oklahoman:

Monday, August 29, 2016

OSU Coaches vs Cancer Birthday Bash

OSU Coaches vs Cancer Birthday Bash 2016 Registration, Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite
Register at Eventbrite

Sponsored by ProCure Proton Therapy Center and The OSU Foundation

Sunday, October 9, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Gallagher-Iba Arena, Oklahoma State University

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dr. Meyer Highlights Need for Dedicated Pediatric Cancer Research at Announcement

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL -- Below is the transcript of remarks by Dr. William Meyer, the Ben Johnson Endowed Chair and Chair of the Jimmy Everest Section of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, delivered during the announcement of a new partnership that will expand pediatric cancer research efforts in Oklahoma.

"The journey to cure childhood cancer began in Boston with Sidney Farber’s testing of antifols, targeted drugs to deplete leukemia cells of folates, soon after World War II. In September 1947 (now almost 70 years ago) a 2-year old boy with leukemia was the first child to receive one of these new antifols provided by Dr. Farber.  

Seven Year Old Cancer Survivor Steals the Show at Announcement

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL -- Seven year old leukemia survivor Brock Hart and his mother, Vanessa Hart, spoke Friday at the announcement of a new partnership that will expand pediatric cancer research efforts in Oklahoma.

Brock stole the show with his matter-of-fact manner, stylish glasses and navy blue bow-tie.  
"Hello, My name is Brock. I'm seven years old and I have leukemia. These doctors helped me and I like fishing."

No one who saw Brock at the announcement before he spoke would have known just how big a battle he'd fought and won. Brock's mother, Vanessa, shared about their family's journey and how past research efforts saved Brock's life. 

"Brock was diagnosed with leukemia almost seven years ago when he was just 11 months old. 
Vanessa and Brock Hart
"I know it sounds cliché but no one thinks that their baby is going to get cancer. We were a happy little family of four. Brock had just learned to walk. He had the cutest belly laugh. And then in one day it all changed. 

Oklahoma Kicks Off National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Early, Expanding Research Efforts

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL (Aug. 26, 2016)— September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In Oklahoma, it's beginning a week early this year. On Friday, officials with the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer in Children, the Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC), the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and the Children's Hospital Foundation (CHF) announced a new initiative to expand childhood cancer research efforts in the state.

Patients, survivors of childhood cancer, their families, healthcare professionals and advocates were in the Samis Education Center at OU Children's Hospital for the announcement.

With an upfront combined investment of $2.2 million, the research partnership will recruit three externally-funded pediatric cancer researchers, expand pediatric clinical trials statewide and establish a pediatric cancer research fund to support future research aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of childhood cancers.

Up to $1 million annually from an existing TSET research grant to Stephenson Cancer Center will be allocated to increasing access to cutting-edge cancer treatment for children statewide.

“Many of today’s cures come from innovation and creativity spawned by researchers at universities. This partnership, along with others, funds important endeavors intended to improve the health of all Oklahomans,” said Jim Gebhart, chairman of the TSET Board of Directors. “It is our hope that this partnership will lead to transformative cancer treatment and historic cures for childhood cancers.”

The Jimmy Everest Pediatric Oncology Program located on the OU Health Sciences Center campus is Oklahoma’s most comprehensive pediatric cancer program. Under the leadership of Dr. William Meyer, Ben Johnson Endowed Chair and Chair of the Jimmy Everest Section of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, the Jimmy Everest Center Program has developed an outstanding clinical team of physicians and staff dedicated to treating this devastating disease.

As part of the Stephenson Cancer Center’s application to the National Cancer Institute for designation as a comprehensive cancer center, the center will make pediatric cancer research a key area of focus.

“It’s exciting to learn Oklahoma is considering a sustainable initiative for children's cancer research, said Dr. Crystal Mackall, associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. “Relatively little funding goes to research new, more effective treatments for cancer in children. This development in Oklahoma is a welcome bit of news and certainly hope this effort is successful.”

State Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, attended the announcement. Thomsen's four-and-a-half year old son, Tal, died in 1998 from complications from the treatments for a brain stem spinal cord tumor after a three year battle.

"It's an honor to be part of this collaborative effort to make childhood cancer research a priority for our state," Thomsen said. "Having walked down the challenging path of pediatric cancer with our son, my wife and I understand just how important innovation is to not only providing a cure for these kids but also a better future and quality of life."

State Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, also attended. Nelson's 10 year old daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago. She was treated at the Jimmy Everest Center and is currently in remission.

Nelson said he was inspired to raise the possibility of using TSET earnings to fund pediatric cancer research after watching his daughter battle cancer and after learning about how relatively little is spent on researching childhood cancer.

"My eyes were opened to the need after Grace's battle," Nelson said. "But more than anything, I was motivated from a type of survivor's guilt as my child survived cancer while other children I had come to know, who were fighting cancer at the same time, did not survive. Being in the Legislature put me in a position to raise the issue with the right people and I did and I'm thankful that TSET and the other partners heard the need and are helping."

Pediatric Cancer Research Funding Partnership At a Glance:

• $2.2 million up-front start-up cost to recruit three top pediatric cancer researchers with funds from the Children’s Hospital Foundation, OU Health Sciences Center, and Stephenson Cancer Center

• $1 million annual support from TSET

• Allocate TSET funds annually to be used as seed grants for new, emerging pediatric cancer research.

• Funding partnership will increase clinical trial availability in Oklahoma

• Provide additional support for cooperative research with partners throughout the state of Oklahoma

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Media Advisory Issued for “Major Announcement Benefiting Pediatric Cancer Patients”

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A media advisory was sent to news outlets today about a news conference scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m., at OU Children's Hospital to share details of a major partnership between the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust or TSET, the Stephenson Cancer Center, Children's Hospital Foundation and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center that will benefit Oklahoma pediatric cancer patients. 

Childhood Cancer Research Initiative on TSET Agenda

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has posted its next quarterly meeting agenda which includes consideration of a "Pediatric Oncology Initiative." The meeting takes place Friday. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Childhood Cancer Research Initiative Announcement Planned Friday

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL (Aug. 22, 2016) -- Officials with the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Children and the Stephenson Cancer Center are announcing a new Childhood Cancer Research Initiative this Friday, August 26, 2016.
The 11 a.m. announcement will take place in the Samis Education Center at OU Children's Hospital. Please respond to if you plan to attend the announcement.