|Keira Grace Foundation Raises $55,000 for Pediatric Cancer Patients in the DR and Partners with UF College of Medicine
Gainesville, Fla. (March 18, 2011) – The 6th annual "Share the Cure 2011” fundraising event hosted by the Keira Grace Foundation raised $55,000, which will benefit pediatric cancer patients in the Dominican Republic. The event took place at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 11, and more than 200 guests were in attendance.
Founders of the organization, Drs. Michael and Eileen Lauzardo say the funds raised will go towards the foundation’s program, "Deliver the Cure: Dominican Republic,” which has been active in the that country for the past six years.
"When we started working with physicians in the Dominican Republic, over half of the children diagnosed with leukemia died within the first year; many times as a result of treatment complications,” said Dr. Michael Lauzardo, who also serves as chief of the division of mycobacteriology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. "Now with targeted intervention protocols for these children, deaths from cancer in the first year mirror the statistics of pediatric cancer patients in America; an astounding drop in deaths to fewer than 5 percent.”
Master of ceremonies and evening anchor of WCJB-TV20 News, David Snyder, interviewed special guest, David Dominguez, age 12, one of the first pediatric cancer survivors Keira Grace Foundation has served in the Dominican Republic. Dominguez was joined by his mother, Mercedes who shared her emotional rollercoaster experience when her son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
"If your child is diagnosed with cancer and you live in the United States, there’s an excellent chance your child will survive,” said Dr. Lauzardo. "But if you happen to live in a developing country like David, getting a cancer diagnosis is basically like getting a death sentence.”
Keira Grace Foundation creates a collaboration between U.S. oncologists and medical teams in developing nations while supporting four key areas of cancer treatment: staffing, training, infrastructure and consultation.
"By supporting medical teams in these key areas we are seeing a dramatic shift in cure rates and this is why David is with us today,” said Dr. Lauzardo. "We can make a huge impact for cancer by simply sharing the cure we have here in the United States with children in developing nations, increasing survival rates by more than 400 percent.”
At the conclusion of the program, Dr. Michael L. Good, dean of the UF College of Medicine, announced that the college has launched a unique partnership with Keira Grace Foundation aimed at providing training for healthcare teams from developing countries who work with pediatric cancer patients. Dr. Good explained that the college will help bring international medical teams to Gainesville for specific courses that address imminent needs, such as new procedures, new treatment regimens and palliative care.
"By working with Keira Grace Foundation, we believe we can not only enhance the foundation’s mission but also the mission of UF’s College of Medicine,” Dr. Good said.