STOP! In The News
Organization Aims to Stop Pediatric Cancer
By Sarah Stover
NORTH PALM BEACH - Stop! Children's Cancer aimed to do just that with its annual luncheon and fashion show on May 19.
"The organization is unique in that it does not have any overhead and therefore, can donate all funds to pediatric cancer research," said President Delores Colton.
Stop! Children's Cancer is a nonprofit organization based in North Palm Beach.
Ms. Colton reminded attendees about Cam Jorgensen, who modeled in last year's show. The event was held in honor of his memory this year. Cam said he wanted to be a farmer when asked at last year's show what he wanted to be when he grew up. He lost his struggle with neuroblastoma on April 2 at age 6.
Pediatric cancer patients modeled fashions from Baby Alexandra of Palm Beach Gardens at the Lost Tree Village Club in North Palm Beach. The fashion show followed lunch and tickets were pulled for items in the silent auction after the show.
Dr. Stephen Hunger, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, referenced Cam in his speech as well.
"Children like Cam are why we need to continue to work and do research," said Dr. Hunger.
Although Shands saves 80 percent of the children who come there, not being able to save the other 20 percent is unacceptable to Dr. Hunger, who was the bearer of good news at the event. The university will open a proton beam radiation center this coming fall. It will be one of five in the United States
Proton beam radiation "allows the treatment to focus mainly on the tumor, and thus, avoids many of the side effects of radiation," said Dr. Hunger.
A cancer and genetics research building will open on the UF campus on June 12.
The funds raised by Stop! allow Dr. Hunger to continue his research.
Dr. Francine Greco was the special guest speaker. She spoke about her own triumph over cancer, having battled it three times.
"I had cancer when I was 12, when I was 24 and I was 36," she said.
She survived Hodgkins lymphoma twice and breast cancer once.
"September 21, 1967, was a day that changed my life. It was the day I learned to live," said Dr. Greco.
She has been fortunate in that some of the great advances in cancer research, such as changes in radiation, development of cat scans and chemotherapy, came about during her cycles with the diseases, said Dr. Greco.
Through her experience, she can relate to the children Stop! supports.
"The worst thing is to watch your parents when someone tells them you have cancer," said Dr. Greco.
Parents' reaction is a lesson she learned from having cancer.
"A child's entire world is their family and friends. They do not need to be the cause of your crying and suffering; however it is also not good to spoil a child with cancer. They develop their reactions from their parents. (Children) can learn to be strong, or they can learn to be the 'Why mes?'" said Dr. Greco. As a three-time cancer survivor, she served as an example of the importance of research.
"Advances are made because of research and research costs money," said Dr. Greco.
Since its inception in 1983, Stop! Children's Cancer has donated more than $2 million to research. The proceeds from the annual luncheon will add to that amount.
"We had about 225 people. We were very happy. We think we've made a lot of money (today), which is what it's all about," said Ms. Colton. This year's event was co-chaired by Carrie Deitz and Lisa Edwards.
"I believe we raised between $25,000 and $30,000 last year, so we hope to make as much, if not more this year," said Ms. Deitz.
The money goes to Shands and the Nicklaus Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, she said.
Ms. Edwards went to school with the owner of Baby Alexandra, so they asked the store to contribute the fashions. The kids modeled bathing suits, summer outfits and raincoats with matching umbrellas.
"The models were so great. They were nervous at first, but we can't get them off the runway now," said Ms. Edwards.
After the show, the models walked around offering guests a chance to purchase a balloon for $100 as part of the fundraiser. Guests could also give $20 to the organization and have a chance to win one of the centerpieces, a bouquet of flowers in a ceramic vase, that graced the tables.
"The best part truly has been realizing how generous people really are," she said.