Kids with Courage, hosted by UW Health's Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant division, honors current and former pediatric oncology patients who received care at American Family Children's Hospital (formerly known as UW Children's Hospital).
A Celebration of Survivors
If ever there were two words that intuitively should not go together, they are "childhood" and "cancer." Fortunately, incredible strides have been made in treating children with cancer over the past generation.
Sponsored by American Family Children's Hospital and the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Kids with Courage V was the fifth reunion of childhood cancer survivors. Bereaved families have been invited to honor the courage of children who did not survive cancer.
Honorary Chair: Cindy Crawford
As was the case for the first four Kids with Courage reunions in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008, supermodel Cindy Crawford played a prominent role at this year's event.
Cindy's younger brother, Jeff was a patient at UW Children's Hospital and died of leukemia in 1975 just before his fourth birthday. Cindy has been an invaluable contributor of time and money to the UW Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program for nearly 25 years .
Dr. Paul Sondel, director of the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program and a celebrated pediatric cancer researcher, says there is nothing as rewarding to him as a physician-researcher as seeing so many childhood cancer survivors under one roof.
"We have made greater headway in curing childhood cancer than any other type of cancer over the past 30 years," Sondel said. "Thirty years ago, only three in 10 childhood cancer patients survived their disease, and it was uncertain if any would be cured. Today, 80 percent of all children diagnosed with cancer will be cured."
Nothing, Sondel said, crystallizes this achievement more powerfully than seeing so many children who were treated at UW coming back for this event.
"Whether a childhood cancer survivor is currently in treatment or 20 years out of treatment as a grown adult with a family, this reunion is a truly phenomenal and emotionally moving event for everyone involved," he said. "Kids with Courage provides an opportunity for families and children to celebrate progress together, entertain, educate and provide support."