Hugh Laurie, Bette Midler, Chris Noth, Daniel Radcliffe, Jesse McCartney, even ELMO --- Celebrities Help Children Fight Cancer

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More than 100 celebrities have donated autographed memorabilia to the Luke Neuhedel Foundation for an online auction that ends September 24th.

More than 100 celebrities have donated autographed memorabilia to the Luke Neuhedel Foundation for an online auction that ends September 24th. A majority of the items are autographed copies of “Loving Luke,” the self-published book of the Luke Neuhedel Foundation about Luke Neuhedel, the inspiration for LNF, who died from cancer after a brave three-year battle. Luke’s Foundation provides financial assistance and plans events to improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with cancer in the US. Autographed photos, posters, Playbills, CDs, books, DVDs, apparel are also included in the auction, donated by celebrities from various arenas, such as Edward Albee, Bill Cosby, John Irving, Donald Trump, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gary Carter, Tony Hawk, Robin Williams, Ray Bradbury, Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Foxworthy, Patrick Warburton, Ewan McGregor, Colin Mochrie, Richard Petty, Liz Smith, Debbie Reynolds, Alec Baldwin, and so many other caring celebrities. All proceeds from the auction will directly benefit children with cancer.

The Luke Neuhedel Foundation was founded in 2002 by Luke’s parents, family, and friends. LNF is an all-volunteer organization that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been granted to thousands of children fighting cancer across the US. The Luke Neuhedel Foundation is proud that its volunteers can make sure that all funds raised help a child in need.

Luke was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a very rare pediatric liver cancer, in 1999 at age 9 months. At diagnosis Luke was predicted to die within a week, but his strong spirit and smiling face helped him live with his cancer for three years. After his death Luke’s family chose to celebrate his life by working to ease the struggle for other pediatric cancer patients and their families. LNF President, Rebecca Neuhedel, voluntarily works with social workers and child life specialists at pediatric cancer institutions across the country to reach out to children receiving treatment who need financial assistance and encouragement.

Pediatric cancer is the #1 killer of children in the US, affecting more children than AIDS, diabetes, congenital anomalies and cystic fibrosis COMBINED. The incidence of cancer in children is 20 times greater than the incidence of AIDS in children. Yet, funding for pediatric AIDS is four times greater than funding for pediatric cancer. The occurrence of children’s cancer in the US is increasing annually; the rate of cancer in teens is increasing at a greater rate than other cancers, including breast, prostrate, and lung. The National Cancer Institute's federal budget for 2003 was $4.6 billion. Of that all 12 major forms of pediatric cancer COMBINED received less than 3%. That does not include rare forms of cancer, such as hepatoblastoma. YET cancer kills more children in America than any other disease. While adults are mostly affected by cancers of the breast, lung, prostrate, bowels and bladder, children are mostly affected by acute leukemia, tumors of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones, and muscles. The cause of many adult cancers is related to lifestyle choices; the cause of children's cancers remains unknown. Pediatric cancer does not only affect the child, but has a major impact on the entire family. The average annual out-of-pocket expenses of having a child with cancer are approximately 53% of a family’s gross income. Sadly, parents of children with a chronic illness or who have suffered the death of a child have a divorce rate of 80%.

The Luke Neuhedel Foundation is committed to raising awareness of pediatric cancer and helping families, working toward the day when pediatric cancer is an oxymoron. More information on the Luke Neuhedel Foundation can be found at http://www.lukefund.org. LNF can be contacted at PO Box 137, Massapequa Park NY 11762, 516-882-9183, or through its website.

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Rebecca Neuhedel
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