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BIRMINGHAM — Last year, more than 190 children in Alabama were diagnosed with cancer and blood diseases. More than 90 percent of Alabama’s children with these illnesses receive treatment at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
In September, Children’s of Alabama and community partners spotlight these young warriors and their battles through a number of special events to commemorate both National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders’ unique partnership of local, national and international centers of excellence provides care and treatment for approximately 1,500 children and adolescents with all types of cancers and blood disorders in the state of Alabama and the region each year. As a founding member of the Children’s Oncology Group – a worldwide clinical trials organization – research and innovative therapies done at Children’s and the University of Alabama at Birmingham help to save the lives of children right down the street and all over the world.
“Continued improvements in pediatric cancer treatment have led to more long-term survivors. More than 84 percent of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer today will be cured of their illness, compared to less than 50 percent just two decades ago, and state-of-the-art screenings have reduced the rate of stroke in sickle cell patients by 90 percent. Our team of more than 300 staff members is working toward the goal of a cure for all children through exceptional patient care, education, research. Supporting the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders helps us provide the best care for children and moves us closer to cures that will save lives,” said Kimberly Whelan, M.D., interim director, The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
One way the community can support the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama is by purchasing the Curing Childhood Cancer specialty car tag that is available at every office of the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles. Every $50 tag generates $41.25 for the cancer program at Children’s. To date, tag sales have raised more than $3 million for childhood cancer research and patient care. When state residents renew or purchase a Curing Childhood Cancer tag, they are providing valuable funds for patient care, research and specialized physician training for the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. For more information about the Curing Childhood Cancer tag, visit www.childrensal.org/committedtoacure.
Another way to support the young patients facing childhood cancer and blood disorders is by registering as a potential blood and marrow donor. The Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Children’s of Alabama – the state’s only dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant facility – specializes in therapies for deadly cancers and blood disorders including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disease. At Children’s, approximately 30 patients receive this lifesaving procedure every year. Joining the Be The Match Registry® means volunteering to be listed as a potential bone marrow donor, ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant. For more information or to register as a potential bone marrow donor, visit http://join.bethematch.org/COA.
In addition, Children’s invites the public to learn more about its clinical and research programs and to be involved in raising awareness and funding through the following avenues:
• The Children’s website will feature a variety of stories and videos about some of the young patients being treated for cancer and blood disorders. The public is invited to visit www.childrensal.org/committedtoacure to meet these remarkable children and young adults.
• Children’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog and YouTube channel will feature patient stories that spotlight patients, families and staff.
• Children’s Russell Building on 5th Avenue South will be illuminated in gold in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month throughout September.
• The public is invited to share its stories of patients who have fought childhood cancer at www.childofchildrens.org.
• Spectrum-Reach, al.com, Birmingham Medical News, Bham Now, WBRC Fox 6, WIAT CBS 42, The Beat 104.1 FM and public radio stations across the state will run public service announcements about childhood cancer throughout September.
• The Alabama Grocers Association, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, and the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association are sponsoring the “Buy Alabama’s Best” campaign to encourage purchases of Alabama-made food products. A portion of sales of participating products will be donated to Children’s to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
• Children’s of Alabama will host its Hope & Cope Education Workshop on Friday, Sept. 28, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Zoo Run Safari for Children’s will be held Saturday, Sept. 29. This motorcycle ride begins at Barber Motorsports Park (6030 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Birmingham) and culminates at the Birmingham Zoo (2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham). Registration is $25 which includes laps at Barber Motorsports Park, lunch from Rusty’s Bar-B-Q and admission to the Birmingham Zoo. Part of the proceeds will go to the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. For registration information, contact Lynn at 205-381-8394.
• During the month of October, the 27 Joe Hudson’s Collision Center locations across the state will donate $5 for every vehicle repaired to Children’s of Alabama. The funds raised from this campaign will help children who are currently being served by the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
• The Alabama Golf Course Superintendents Association will host the Donnie Arthur Memorial Tournament on Monday, Oct. 29, at Pine Tree Country Club (5100 Pine Whispers Dr., Birmingham). Registration details are available online at http://alabamachaptergcsaa.com/. A portion of tournament proceeds will benefit the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
• Children’s will host its annual Advancement in the Care of Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Symposium on Friday, Nov. 16. Experts from Children’s and the University of Alabama at Birmingham will discuss the latest therapies and common challenges in treating childhood cancer, sickle cell disease and other blood disorders.
Details about all these events and others, including links to events pages and social media outlets, are available at www.childrensal.org/committedtoacure.
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 45 other states and six foreign countries last year, representing more than 677,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at childrensal.org.