Ten years ago, Brittany Hebert founded Sky High for Kids, which has supported Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers for several years, most recently through a truly transformational gift.
This article originally featured on Texas Children’s Hospital Aspire Publication and republished with permission.
“We are incredibly grateful for Sky High’s generosity,” said Dr. Susan Blaney, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “Their generosity is just extraordinary. The impact of a transformational gift like this will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in Texas, across the United States, and around the world. We are proud to have the opportunity to put their generosity to work to support immunotherapy research and training of pediatric hematology-oncology specialists who will treat children in several underserved countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”
“The impact of a transformational gift like this will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in Texas, across the United States, and around the world.”
Dr. Susan Blaney
Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers
Sky High for Kids Cancer Immunotherapy Center: Supporting Cutting-Edge Research
The overall cure rate for childhood cancer in the United States has improved dramatically over the past 50 years and is expected to continue to do so. Physicians and researchers at Texas Children’s have pioneered many of the therapies that are now the standard of care for pediatric cancer and hematology patients. Unfortunately, some survivors continue to face quality-of-life challenges resulting from treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy — which is why our experts never stop exploring innovative treatments that can be more effective and provide improved quality of life.
Immunotherapy is quickly emerging as a treatment method that stands to change the face of cancer care for children. It is especially exciting because it uses a patient’s own immune system to fight their cancer, targeting cancer cells more precisely to avoid damaging non-cancerous normal tissues. Scientists believe that in the next 10 to 15 years, immune therapies will be employed in the treatment of most childhood cancers.
With Sky High’s generous gift, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers are proud to establish the Sky High for Kids Cancer Immunotherapy Center. The discoveries made here will be shared with the scientific community around the world, exponentially magnifying the benefit for children and families everywhere.
Global HOPE: Training Specialists to Treat Children in Sub-Saharan Africa
More than 90,000 children die each year in sub-Saharan Africa from cancers that are routinely cured in the United States. There, the survival rate is only 10% (versus 80% in the U.S.), chiefly because of extreme poverty and the scarcity of medical facilities and providers in these vast areas.
The Global HOPE (Hematology Oncology Pediatric Excellence) program, a partnership between Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and Baylor College of Medicine’s International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI), is changing these statistics.
Global HOPE is built on the successful model of care employed by BIPAI, which has operated seven Centers of Excellence (COEs) in six sub-Saharan African countries since 2001.
Texas Children’s is proud to be able to establish Sky High for Kids Training Centers across Africa and in Houston, which will enable pediatric hematology-oncology specialists to treat children in Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), dramatically improve their outcomes, and help build long-term capacity for outstanding care by training local caregivers.
“The gift from Sky High for Kids will ensure that children with cancer and blood disorders in Africa receive the most effective, state-of-the-art therapies available and experience treatment outcomes comparable to those in the United States and Western Europe,” said Dr. David G. Poplack, director of Global HOPE and associate director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “With Sky High’s amazing gift, the potential to achieve this goal is unlimited, and we are so excited and grateful.”