Kids With Courage: A Celebration of Survivors

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If ever there were two words that intuitively should not go together, they are "childhood cancer." Fortunately, incredible strides have been made in treating children with cancer over the past generation.
On Saturday, July 5, 2008, more than 200 childhood cancer survivors, some of them in their thirties, and their families, celebrated advances in cancer treatment and survival rates at Kids with Courage IV.

Honorary Chair: Cindy Crawford

As was the case for the first three Kids with Courage reunions in 1993, 1998 and 2003, 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 Oncology program for nearly 20 years.

Other special guests at this year's Kids with Courage reunion included Jon McGlocklin, former Milwaukee Buck and founder and president of Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer; former Olympic track star Suzy Favor Hamilton; and Paul Sondel, MD, director of UW Pediatric Oncology and celebrated pediatric cancer researcher.

Tremendous Achievements

Sondel 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 treated at UW come back to Madison 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."