OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma native and country music star Blake Shelton recently established the Blake Shelton Cancer Research Program in honor of his cousin, Aspen Van Horn.

In 2016, Shelton donated $600,000 to Children’s Hospital Foundation in support of the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders during his concert in Oklahoma City. He credits Aspen’s survival to the center for the work they do for children battling pediatric cancer.

At five months of age, Aspen had endured two blood transfusions, three rounds of chemo and a surgical procedure to remove much of the neuroblastoma tumor. The chemo treatments were successful, and Aspen will celebrate her third birthday this January.

“We are so thankful that Children’s is close to us and that they have the best pediatric physicians to care for Aspen,” said Shayla Van Horn, Aspen’s mother. “We didn’t have to leave the state to receive the care that Aspen needed. It would have been very hard for us to leave the state for that long. We were able to go home as we needed, and family members were able to visit and support Aspen without traveling long distance.”

Under the direction of William H. Meyer, M.D., CHF Ben Johnson Chair in Hematology/Oncology, the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center team of specialists provides the latest investigational therapies as well as conventional treatments. Especially important is the fact that the team specializes in treating cancer in children and teenagers. The specialists consider the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and other therapies on a child’s growing body and make every effort to minimize any negative effects these treatments may have during important developmental years.

“We are so thankful for Blake’s support in defeating childhood cancer,” said Chip Keating, Children’s Hospital Foundation’s board president. “We have what I would consider to be one of the top cancer centers in America here in our footsteps, providing the best care possible for our kids with cancer. This research program will help us further our mission to see more kids ring the bell, symbolizing the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer.”

Children’s Hospital Foundation funds pediatric research and education programs, ultimately supporting The Children’s Hospital in serving every county in Oklahoma with more than 234,000 patient encounters annually. All funds raised through the Children’s Hospital Foundation stay in Oklahoma, so children will have access to exceptional pediatric specialists without having to leave the state.

To support Children’s Hospital Foundation or the Blake Shelton Cancer Research Program, please call 405-650-1718 or visit www.chfKids.com.

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