Tragedy leads Lewallens to be champions for CHF

McAfee & Taft real estate lawyer Joe Lewallen and his wife, Jamie, were featured in an article in Oklahoma City FRIDAY about their dedication and efforts to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation following the death of their 10-year-old son, Tripp, to cancer in 1998. At the time, treatment for their son’s rare form of leukemia was not available in Oklahoma City for children of his age, so the family had to make repeated trips to a Fort Worth hospital and back. After Tripp died, the couple devoted themselves to raising awareness and money for an endowed chair in pediatric oncology at the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Children so that cutting-edge cancer research and treatment could be conducted in Oklahoma.

“So many people don’t realize the importance of research and treatment until they need the services of Children’s Hospital for someone in their family,” said Lewallen. “Until you have a reason, you don’t have a personal appreciation for it. Once you do, you certainly realize how blessed we are to have that resource for our kids.”

Earlier this year, Joe was elected president of the CHF board of directors, the only non-profit organization in Oklahoma whose sole focus is the advancement of pediatric research and education programs to improve the health of children.

“I feel our most gratifying accomplishment is that CHF has raised well more than $100 million for endowed chairs, equipment and specialized education and research programs,” said Lewallen. “We have brought in world-renowned doctors and scientists to Oklahoma City who are conducting life-saving research, teaching medical students, and caring for patients in clinics and in the hospital.”

For more information about the Children’s Hospital Foundation, visit: www.chfkids.com.