Luna Martell — a 13-year-old Rockwall resident — is participating as a model and artist in the 27th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.
Children’s Cancer fund raises awareness through the luncheon and fashion show for children’s cancer research and programs at Children’s Medical Center. Attending the event will be Honorary Event Chairmen Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, Master and Mistress of Ceremonies and KDFW FOX 4 News Anchors Steve Eagar and Clarice Tinsley, current Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Miss Teen Texas USA, Miss Texas America and others.
The event also serves as a positive experience for children with cancer who are participating. One such participant is Martell.
Martell was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma — liver cancer — when she was 6 years old. Martell received a liver transplant during her fist hospitalization — which lasted nine months. She is now on her fifth reoccurrence of the cancer, but her mother, Heidi Martell, said she is staying strong.
“She is definitely a trooper. She’s had a lot of chemo and treatments,” Heidi said. “Throughout it all she’s been positive, family-oriented and pretty much happy-go-lucky about things.”
Heidi said Luna’s involvement in the luncheon is a “special treat.” She said the kids go through so many procedures at the hospital that having a nice gift like the luncheon is a way for them to experience something positive.
Luna filled out an application to be a model and was selected. She will be joining 20 other models at the Western-themed luncheon where she will be modeling an outfit and having the opportunity to keep the clothes, escorted down the runway by a celebrity and contributing a drawing.
“My drawing for the 2015 Inspiration Book is dedicated to all of the kids in Children’s Cancer Fund with a message to be happy with the life they have and to never give up,” Luna said in a press release.
Luna’s favorite subjects in school are art and math. Her mother said she also enjoys her technology class in which she works with images and layouts.
“If you ask her, she’ll say she wants to be an animal rescuer when she grows up,” Heidi said, “but she has a lot of talent and an architectural eye.”
Luna’s love for animals isn’t limited to certain species. She loves mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Her family frequently goes camping and Luna likes to see what animals she can find. Luna and her family — her parents and five brothers —recently camped at Big Bend State Park and San Angelo State Park.
During this trip, Luna found different kinds of snakes and geckos. A few years ago, she even found a horned lizard.
Her father, Jonathon, said her brothers treat her normally.
“Luna’s been going through this for more than half her life now, seven years,” Jonathan said. “I think a lot of the siblings have become acclimated to her having it and her being sick.
“They, of course, feel sympathy — I think that if some really bad news came down it would affect them deeply — but at the moment they understand that Luna is a person. There’s not much she can do about it, so they don’t like to make that the forefront issue and enjoy the time we do have together.”
Heidi said she’s happy for Luna’s opportunity to participate in the luncheon as a chance for her to be singled out and have something special for herself.
However, this isn’t the only opportunity Luna is recognized as special. Heidi said her teachers and other students rely on her and know she is available to help them, despite missing school.
“She exercises kindness and compassion in daily life and in the classroom,” Heidi said.
Heidi also said the event was a nice way for people to be more compassionate and raise awareness concerning children with cancer.
For more information, visit childrenscancerfund.com.