Elementary students wear hats to raise funds for cancer research - Tucson News Now

Elementary students wear hats to raise funds for cancer research

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Petz family from left - Amy, Ami, Conrad and Derek, not pictured Jeremia Petz (Source: UA Steele Children's Research Center) Petz family from left - Amy, Ami, Conrad and Derek, not pictured Jeremia Petz (Source: UA Steele Children's Research Center)
Benny Petz (Source: UA Steele Children's Research Center) Benny Petz (Source: UA Steele Children's Research Center)
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Students hold hat parade and raise funds for pediatric cancer research at the same time. 

According to a release from the UA Steele Children's Research Center, students from Miller Elementary School held a fundraiser to help the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research. 

The students each paid $1 to wear a hat to school on May 13, they then held a hat parade to show off the caps.  According to the release they raised $221.  The idea for the hat parade came from Amy Petz, Miller Elementary's community representative. Petz's son Benny, passed away on June 27, 2006 at the age of 5 from neuroblastoma, a pediatric solid tumor cancer of the nerve tissue.

"The kids were happy to support the cause of children's cancer research," said Petz. "We're planning on doing this fundraiser again next year as well."

The Petz family presented the check from the fundraiser to the UA Steele Children's Research Center on May 27. 

"This was really meaningful for me, as Benny would have celebrated his 13th birthday on May 26," said Petz.

When Benny was alive and being treated at what was then UMC (now Diamond Children's), he participated in a phase 1 clinical trial, testing the novel cancer drug 17AAG (17-allylamino-geldananmycin). The clinical trial was managed by former UA Steele Center physician-scientist Rochelle Bagatell, MD.

"Benny contributed to advancing knowledge about finding less toxic ways to treat children with cancer," said Petz. "We know that research is the key to finding better treatments and cures for childhood cancers."

Benny was well-known and loved by the Tucson community during his battle with cancer.

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