Getting messy for a cause

Jude Cobler’s life is sanitized for his own protection. Not much can be messy and that’s hard for a kid. But a couple of days ago, Jude got to be just the opposite of neat.

Jude, a patient at Children’s, underwent a bone marrow transplant in December 2010 and still has to be careful about his exposure to infection, but the other day he got to dip his hand in paint and squish it on a bright and shiny new car. The finger painting outing was part of a presentation for pediatric cancer research by Dallas-Fort Worth-area Hyundai dealers.

The dealers brought a white Santa Fe SUV to the hospital and encouraged patients to plant their hand prints on the car. The idea was to celebrate the children’s lives and to have them share their stories with children and families across the country that are participating in similar events for the carmaker’s Hope on Wheels program, which has raised funds for childhood cancer research initiatives for the past 13 years. The hand prints also were put on paper and will be made into decals for display by Hyundai dealers across America next year.

Grant for research

The hand prints were part of a ceremony by the area Hyundai dealers to award a $40,000 grant to University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for Dr. Raven Cooksey. Dr. Cooksey is a fellow at UT Southwestern in pediatric hematology-oncology. She practices at Children’s in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Children’s is where UT Southwestern doctors learn advanced pediatric medicine. The grant money is part of $2.7 million that the Hope on Wheels Tour will donate this year to back pediatric cancer research nationally.

Dr. Cooksey’s research is on metabolic syndrome in young survivors of brain tumors who were treated with radiation. Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of health risk factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Cooksey is studying whether radiation may lead to metabolic syndrome.

But for Jude, the day was all about telling his story and spreading some bright green paint around. And if you remember at all what it’s like being a 6 year old, you know how important that is.


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