January 15, 2019

Texas Children’s Hospital will have the distinct privilege of being the co-presenting sponsor of the upcoming Houston Marathon Health & Fitness EXPO alongside Houston Methodist.

The EXPO will be held Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19 prior to the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon, the largest single-day sporting event in Houston and the largest marathon race in Texas, with more than 33,000 participants running the streets of Houston on Sunday, January 20. All runners must attend the EXPO to pick up their race materials while others are invited to attend to interact with other runners and make purchases from a variety of vendors.

“This is a great opportunity to extend our mission and share our passion for youth health initiatives,” said Amber Tabora, senior vice president of Philanthropy, Marketing and Public Relations. “The EXPO is a wonderful event, and we are excited to be part of it.”

Click here to view the promotion video

As a benefit of our three-year co-presenting sponsorship of the EXPO, Texas Children’s was awarded 10 complimentary race entries. On January 7, Texas Children’s donated the often sold-out race entries to 10 Katy Students Run (KSR) members.

Austin Salas, a 16-year-old KSR member participating in the half marathon for the second consecutive year, said at a small gathering at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus he is extremely thankful Texas Children’s will be helping him reach his marathon goals this year.

“I look forward to helping others know how important eating, sleeping and pacing yourself is when running long distances,” Salas said. “I’m also striving to beat my time from last year. That would be really awesome.”

For the past 13 years, KSR has been empowering young people to set and achieve life-altering goals through mentorship, unconditional acceptance and training for a half-marathon.

“It is great to see the level of commitment that these students have,” KSR founder Jenny Demarest said. “To see them come into the group with no experience, and to watch them grow is amazing!”

In addition to the co-sponsorship of the EXPO, Texas Children’s Hospital is one of the participating charities in the Houston Marathon’s Run for a Reason program.

Run for a Reason is a way for people to achieve a personal fitness goal and help preserve the mission of Texas Children’s Hospital at the same time by allowing runners to run the marathon with a guaranteed entry – on behalf of Texas Children’s.

Running for Texas Children’s Hospital is not just about the race, it’s a promise to our patients. By signing up to run and fundraise on behalf of Texas Children’s Hospital, the donations will directly impact the lives of countless children. The support that we garner allows us to expand our care to even more children who need our help.

Our Run for a Reason contenders will be wearing light blue shirts on race day. Come out and cheer them on and check out the EXPO!

On race day, Sunday, January 20, look for the red Texas Children’s Hospital tent located at the Bed Bath and Beyond entrance off Kirby and West Alabama, across the street from Texas Children’s Pediatrics Pediatric Medical Group.

For more information, download the Chevron Houston Marathon official app on your phone, and click here for all event information.

December 18, 2018

Two recent radiothons held in conjunction with local radio stations raised more than a million dollars for Texas Children’s Hospital.

On December 6 and 7, Mega 101 FM raised more than $392,000 for Texas Children’s Hospital through its annual holiday Radiothon. As the leading Spanish contemporary FM station, Mega 101 is an exemplary partner that represents giving back to the children and families in the community whenever there is a need by their listeners.

Days later on December 13 and 14, the 15th Annual Cox Cares For Kids Radiothon brought in more than $625,000 for Texas Children’s Hospital. For two days, radio personalities from The New 93Q, Country Legends and The Eagle interviewed children and families who shared their stories of being treated at Texas Children’s.

Donations were raised through pledges called into a phone bank, as well as those made online through a text-to-donate campaign. The event was broadcast live from Texas Children’s in the third floor common area of the Pavilion For Women.

Standing in a packed auditorium at the University of Houston’s Student Center South on the evening of December 9, Natalie Martinez gripped a white candle and whispered Angelina when the person seated next to her lit her wick. Angelina is Natalie’s 11-month-old daughter who died five years ago of an undiagnosed medical condition.

“I have been looking for a way to formally honor my little girl and this is it,” Natalie said. “I had to bring a friend for support because I might break down, but I’m here and I’m thankful to have such an opportunity.”

Natalie was one of about 700 people who attended Texas Children’s First Annual Candle Lighting Ceremony to remember, honor, mourn and celebrate the lives of children taken from this world too soon. Hosted by Texas Children’s Palliative Care Team (PACT), the first annual Candle Lighting Ceremony was held in conjunction with the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Day, which unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour at 7 p.m. on December 9 in memory of children who have passed away. All families whose children died and were patients at Texas Children’s Hospital were invited to attend the ceremony, which included free parking, refreshments, childcare and access to grief resources.

Dr. Tammy Kang, section chief of Palliative Care at Texas Children’s, and Jackie Ward, associate chief nursing officer, kicked off the ceremony with words of encouragement and hope.

“Together we come together in unity to honor those lost,” Ward said. “We will forever remember them, cherish them and their imprint on this world.”

Kang agreed and said she hoped the ceremony would provide a healthy outlet of remembrance for families grieving the loss of their child, and to begin to heal from the pain and sadness they are going through.

A slide show of those lost brought many people to tears, giving faces and names to those who have died, as did a display of paper hearts hung on trees at the front of the auditorium. Attendees were given the option to write a message to their child on the hearts. Natalie’s heart read: Some people dream of angels. I’ve held one in my arms.

During the ceremony, five candles were lit at the front of the room – one for grief, another for courage and the rest for memories, love and hope. Then, the candles of everyone in the audience were lit as music therapists Alix Brickley and Abi Carlton sang This Little Light of Mine.

“Take a deep breath,” Chaplain James Denham said soothingly. “You are not alone.”

Melissa Lopez, a nurse in the Cancer Center, was both a volunteer and an event participant as her 16-year-old daughter, Natalia, passed away nine years ago after fighting her battle against cancer.

“Texas Children’s needed this type of event,” she said. “People like me need to know and feel like our children have not been forgotten.”

Taryn Schuelke, the grief and bereavement specialist with the Palliative Care team and ceremony chair, said she is pleased so many people attended the first of what will be an annual ceremony for those tied to Texas Children’s who have lost a child.

“We are honored to have known these children and to be able to recognize them,” she said. “We also are thankful to have so many people who are willing to help make such a special remembrance happen.”

Some of those people and organizations include:

  • The Aleksandra Petra Mondlak Palliative Care Endowed Fund
  • Texas Medical Center Orchestra
  • Texas Children’s Hospital Language Services
  • Texas Children’s Art Therapist Ashley Wood created the art used on all ceremony branding and will turn the paper hearts into a display for next year’s ceremony.
  • The Palliative Care Team’s Senior Administrative Assistant Lindsey Gurganious built the ceremony mantle and poured the large ceremony candle.
  • Texas Children’s Spiritual Care Department
  • Texas Children’s music therapists
  • More than 100 Texas Children’s Hospital staff and their families
  • Various local restaurants and florists

The Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) is an interdisciplinary team comprised of attending physicians, physicians in training, advanced practice nurses, a nurse, chaplain, social worker, grief and bereavement specialist, research coordinator and administrators who work together to provide excellent palliative care to patients and their families across the Texas Children’s Institution.

The team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide care in either the inpatient or outpatient setting in partnership with other health care providers. The team also supports staff. Just last year, the program earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Palliative Care Certification, making Texas Children’s Palliative Care Program the first of its kind in Houston and one of only 90 across the United States to receive such a distinction. To learn more about the team, click here.

On December 10, Texas Children’s Nursing Retention Council pitched in to give back to the community by volunteering at the “Be a Resource for CPS Kids (BEAR) annual toy drive.

Team members spent several hours sorting and preparing Christmas gifts for distribution to the 9,925 children in the Houston area who are in the Child Protective Services (CPS) system.

Like many Texas Children’s employees who have dedicated their time to volunteer service, identifying opportunities to make a positive impact in the community is a win-win situation. Accustomed to caring for others, supporting BEAR provided an opportunity for our nurses to extend their reach and care for thousands of foster children across Greater Houston.

“I am excited about the ways our team is serving our community,” said Texas Children’s Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre. “Volunteering makes us feel good, brings us together and further strengthens our team. The work of BEAR closely aligns with Texas Children’s mission of serving children, and I can’t think of a better organization for us to support.”

Besides their annual holiday toy drive, BEAR provides emergency supplies – like diapers, clothing, shoes, car seats, cribs and school supplies – to Harris County children in the care of CPS. The program also provides items needed for youth who are transitioning out of CPS care.

“BEARing Gifts was such a powerful experience for me, and it made me realize just how dire the situation is for children in our community,” said Nursing Retention Council Chair Sharon Moreau. “As Retention Chair, I will work to cultivate a lasting relationship with BEAResource.”

December 11, 2018

On December 7, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands joined forces with Tellepsen, a local construction company, for their third annual Bikes4Smiles event.

“We enjoy giving bicycles to Texas Children’s Hospital patients,” Construction Manager of Tellepsen, John Brock said. “Seeing the big smiles on their faces is what makes me want to do more every year.”

The Woodlands campus’ Patient & Family Services team did a remarkable job identifying deserving families and coordinating with Tellepsen on the delivery and presentation of the bicycles. One-by-one, each patient, some along with their siblings, entered the Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands conference room shocked to see dozens of shiny new bikes with their names on them.

A total of 32 bikes were matched with deserving children this year, and The Woodlands staff donated safety helmets to go with each bicycle.

“Thank you all so much for this,” a patient mother, Mayra Munoz said in tears. “This is exactly what they asked for this year for Christmas.”

In 2015, Tellepsen participated in a donation project that ultimately sparked Bikes4Smles, which Brock in particular, donated a brand new Spiderman bicycle. After presenting the bikes, Brock noticed how one child’s face lit up, and he also noticed that it was because of his gift.

“That struck me real hard,” Brock said. “At that moment I knew this wasn’t just a one-time thing.”

Tellepsen’s Bikes4Smiles project was born in 2016, raising approximately 265 bikes. Today, with Texas Children’s patients added to the list of recipients, the company has donated nearly 700 bicycles in total. Tellepsen is not only responsible for making Texas Children’s patients smile, but they are also responsible for making The Woodlands campus’ alluring structure.

This event has laid the foundation for our partnership as we continue to work with this influential company to make a difference in The Woodlands community and surrounding communities in Montgomery County.

“Events like these are always a pleasure to witness,” Executive Vice President of Texas Children’s Hospital, Michelle Riley-Brown said. “We thank Tellepsen for their gifts, as well as their constant dedication to the health of children and women.”

October 16, 2018

On October 12, hundreds of guests attended the 11th annual Celebration of Champions fashion show and luncheon at River Oaks Country Club to honor event participants and to raise money for Texas Children’s Cancer Center.

During the event, pediatric cancer patients and survivors from Texas Children’s Cancer Center were escorted down the runway by local philanthropists or “Community Champions.” One patient, Max Boatwright, walked with our very own therapy dog, Elsa, who was guided by Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Sarah Herbek.

“This event really demonstrates the progress we’ve made in the treatment of childhood cancer, and it celebrates our patients, who are our champions,” said Dr. Susan Blaney, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “We’re also so grateful for the community of Houston, which so strongly supports our mission, and we’re celebrating those champions today as well.”

The event was chaired by Sidney Faust, Judi McGee, Elsie Eckert and Scott Basinger, who have overseen the luncheon each year since its inception. Thanks to underwriting by Faust Distributing Company and Mach Industrial Group, Inc., each patient was able to keep his or her hand-picked outfit – much to the delight of the models.

All funds raised during the luncheon will benefit Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s Long-Term Survivor Program, one of the nation’s only long-term childhood cancer survivor programs that sees survivors through adulthood. Today, more than 30,000 long-term pediatric cancer survivors nationwide are enrolled in Texas Children’s Passport for Care, an online resource developed at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine that provides individualized health care information to guide care for effects from childhood cancer treatment.

Golfers wore their baddest pants, played their best golf and raised more than $500,000 for Texas Children’s Newborn Center at the Clubs of Kingwood last week. The Bad Pants Open, an annual golf tournament now in its 21st year, has raised more than $6.5 million in the past two decades to support continued innovation and excellence in the research, treatment and care of critically ill and premature infants as well as helping to fund support services for families with babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Presented by RBC Wealth Management/Capital Markets and chaired by Rob Cooksey, vice president of Texas Aromatics, golfers enjoyed breakfast provided by Chick-Fil-A, a long drive exhibition by Dan Boever and lunch on the course provided by Beck’s Prime. Players also enjoyed complimentary pre-golf stretching provided by Reach Stretch Studios and live on-site broadcasting by ESPN 97.5 Houston, the tournament’s media partner.

The event featured a post-play awards ceremony and dinner catered by Swift Events, where players were awarded plates painted by Texas Children’s patients for both the best golf scores and baddest pants. Monique Landor, a NICU nurse at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, was presented with the NICU Nurse of the Year award, a special recognition awarded at each tournament.

More than 2,500 critically-ill and premature infants receive essential care in Texas Children’s NICU each year, many of whom are born at nearby Houston-area hospitals. Texas Children’s is the nation’s largest NICU and one of only two Level IV NICUs in the greater Houston area. The next Bad Pants Open golf tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, 2019. More information is available at www.badpantsopen.com.