Kiwanis Clubs Establish Children's Cancer Fellowship

06/19/00    Portland, Ore.

Clubs in Oregon and S.W. Washington Are National Leaders in Fund-Raising

Members of the Kiwanis Doernbecher Children's Cancer Program Board have raised $100,000 to fund the first Kiwanis Children's Cancer Fellowship. The fellowship offers pediatricians training at Oregon Health Sciences University's Doernbecher Children's Hospital to become pediatric cancer specialists. The Kiwanians have made a three-year pledge of $50,000 annually to establish the fellowship. This year's funds will launch the 2000 and 2001 fellowships.

The first fellowship was awarded to Ashley Speckhart, M.D. She was chosen from a group of applicants from all over the United States and several foreign countries. Speckhart soon will begin her three-year challenge of treating children with cancer and developing ways to enable physicians to cure children's cancer. Speckhart just finished a pediatric residency at Doernbecher. She is originally from Tennessee and went to the medical school at the University of Tennessee at Memphis. It was in Memphis at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital that she first interacted with children with cancer. The Kiwanis Children's Cancer Fellowship is the first for Doernbecher's cancer division.

"The potential impact for Doernbecher is tremendous," says Jon Ulsh, executive director of Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation. "The pediatric cancer specialists trained through this program will benefit children not only in our community, but around the world."

Kiwanis International Trustee and Kiwanis Doernbecher Children's Cancer Board Executive Vice President Jim McAllister agrees, "There is a real need for trained professionals in children's diseases. What we learn in Portland will have a global impact."

Since 1986, Kiwanians throughout North America have supported children's hospitals as national sponsors of the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. Clubs in Oregon and S.W. Washington have been leaders in this effort, contributing over $670,000 to Doernbecher Children's Hospital--an achievement unmatched by Kiwanians anywhere else in the United States. In 1999, the group raised $70,000 for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

The Kiwanians' fund-raisers this year included its Mustang Raffle, Division 44 Golf Tournament, the Greater Portland Golf Tournament and the Lookingglass to the Bay Bike Relay.

With the help of Kiwanians, Doernbecher Children's Hospital has become one of the most innovative and respected centers in the country for treating children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases.