The Village Of Houston Offers Their Hands To Help Cure Pediatric Cancer
When I think of Houstonians and their dedication to the community, there are a couple of ancient proverbs that resonate in my mind. These African proverbs, “It takes a village to raise a child” and “One hand does not nurse a child” echo through the floors of the Texas Children’s Hospital, and even more so throughout our Cancer Center. In Houston we are extremely fortunate to have a community so compassionate and generous and dedicated to the care of our children afflicted with cancer. Every day within the Texas Children’s Cancer Center we treat children, and essentially their families, when their lives are the most fragile. Every day that a child is lost to these devastating diseases is a constant reminder that unfortunately we still have a long way to go towards the goal of curing every child diagnosed with cancer. In order to accomplish this goal, sufficient resources are required to apply our creative ideas and abilities to thoroughly understand the biology of these cancers and devise and implement new therapies. Only then can we make that next leap forward towards improving the lives for all pediatric cancer patients. Unfortunately, in order to understand the biology and devise new therapies, it not only takes a tremendous amount of thought and effort, but also the necessary funding to execute these vital steps. Presently, there are significant limitations in funding available through the federal agencies such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is the largest funding source for cancer research. About 9 out of 10 research proposals submitted to the NCI for financial support are not funded. Therefore, without alternative resources for helping support research efforts into pediatric cancer, there would be no realistic hope of advancing the ball and improving these fragile lives. Recently, the Texas Children’s Cancer Center launched an initiative called the Scholars of Excellence program that has reached out to the private Houston community in order to develop partnerships, and relationships, between pediatric cancer researchers and Houstonians. I am extremely fortunate to be a Scholar of Excellence, which will enable me to interact with local Houstonians and discuss my passion into understanding pediatric sarcomas. Sarcomas are often aggressive bone and muscle tumors that can be extremely debilitatin and unfortunately are still frequently associated with poor patient outcomes. Houstonians have generously donated their time and financial resources towards making our research endeavors possible. We cannot express how vital these funds will be in the coming years as they will position us to fully implement our ideas and use all resources available to understand and combat these types of tumors. We know through the support of these individuals, and numerous others throughout the Houston community, the physicians at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center are not the only hands helping nurse our patients, as it is truly the Village of Houston that will offer the hope for us to raise these children back to health.