By Kiwanian Dave Wilson
Many children from the Rogue Valley have received treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. This hospital is a leader in the National Cancer Institute 20 member consortium Phase 1 treatment centers in the United States, and is the only hospital west of the Mississippi to achieve this distinction. During the County Fiscal Year 2010, there were almost three thousand pediatric visits from Jackson County, and over 1300 from Josephine County.
The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Kiwanis through the Kiwanis Doernbecher Children’s Cancer Program (KDCCP) has supported the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for the past 25 years. KDCCP has led the campaign to establish the Bone Marrow Transplant Program in the early 1990’s. Doernbecher continues to be the only provider of pediatric stem cell transplants for cancer patients in Oregon and southwest Washington.
As the cancer program grew, so did the mission of KDCCP. In 1999 KDCCP founded the Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Fellowship, a program that trains board certified Pediatricians to become the next generation of specialist in children’s cancer and blood disorders. To date, the three-year program has graduated eleven pediatric hematologist-oncologists who now practice in all corners in the country, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. With Kiwanis support, current “Kiwanis Fellows” will research therapies and trends in survivorship, gene therapy and neuro-oncology that will change how children throughout the region and beyond are treated for cancer and blood disorders.
With Doernbecher’s nationally recognized resources and programs, continued philanthropic support ensures that the research and training that takes place in the Pacific Northwest will continue to save and improve the lives of the children and young adults of this region and beyond. Despite the many advances made at Doernbecher and research hospitals like it, there is still work to be done: at least 15 percent of Doernbecher patients will die from their cancer. With this in mind, it is a priority for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, with the support of the Kiwanis Doernbecher’ Children’s Cancer Program, to maximize the chance of cure and minimize the burden of treatment.
Since its beginning, KDCCP has raised over $3 million for the kids at Doernbecher. Last year PNW Kiwanis pledged to raise $500,000 to continue to fund the Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Fellowship. All of the local Kiwanis Clubs in the Rogue Valley have been working towards raising these funds with donations, raffles and golf tournaments. They welcome help from the public. Anybody who is interested in this most worthy project can contact their local Kiwanis club. Kiwanis clubs are located in Ashland Medford, Jacksonville, Central Point, Rogue River, and two clubs in Grants Pass.
The local Division of Kiwanis is now trying to start a new Kiwanis Club in Eagle Point, to serve the communities of Eagle Point, Shady Cove and White City. For information, call Dave Wilson at 541-899-1934 or Lonnie Johnson at 541-479-4834.