Children’s Cancer Fund, Flemings team up to help sick youngsters

By Raquel Garcia….

Pictured at the sixth annual “Capturing Courage” Luncheon at Fleming’s in Coral Gables are members of the Children’s Cancer Fund Board of Directors and volunteers.

For the more than 10,000 children who develop cancer and other life threatening blood disorders each year, organizations such as the Children’s Cancer Fund are a welcome respite from this disturbing reality while providing an embracing environment resembling normalcy.

The sixth annual “Capturing Courage” Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon and Auction enjoyed a huge turn out on Thursday, May 6, at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Coral Gables.

Fleming’s managing partner Juan Carlos Marchan was all smiles as he commented on the big turnout.

“We have at least 130 people here today to enjoy fine dining, the silent auction, and beautiful art on display in support of the Children’s Cancer Fund (CCF),” Marchan said. “Fleming’s is committed to supporting the community.”

CCF board members husband and wife Fred and Maria Annunziata know firsthand as a family what it is like to walk into the door of the Children’s Cancer Fund medical offices at Jackson Memorial Hospital — confused and scared after a frightening diagnosis.

“Our son Daniel was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease at 14 years old,” said Maria Annunziata. “When we first arrived at the clinic we did not know what to expect. Dr. [Stuart] Toledano gave us over two hours of his time at that initial meeting.”

Now retired, Dr. Toledano took “a program that was in disarray some 27 to 28 years ago and from that developed the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology that we know today,” said Dr. Joanna Davis.

Fortunately for the Annunziata family, Daniel recovered fully, recently graduated from college, and will be marrying in September.

Dr. Davis was the first fellow in the division and stayed on as a faculty member. She has witnessed the expansion of programs and services firsthand over the years. In addition to being an attending physician in the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of Miami, she also is the medical director of the Comprehensive Pediatric Hemophilia Treatment Center.

“Today our leadership rests with internationally recognized researcher Dr. Julio Barredo who has moved programs in the division [like the Children’s Cancer Fund] forward to include research and clinical trials,” Dr. Davis said.

“You would rather not have to come to our house, but if you do have to come to our house, we take a holistic approach to treat not just the patient, but the entire family as well,” Dr. Davis added. “Everyone needs attention. We want them to know this is a problem but it is manageable, it may be tough but we are going to help them get their lives back to normal, create pockets of normalcy in their lives so they see that not all has gone to ruin.”

The Children’s Cancer Fund is an affiliate of the Jackson Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to supporting children who are being treated in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology at the University of Miami/Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Visit online at <www.childrenscancerfundmiami> or call 305-585-5635.

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