Blake Shelton establishes cancer research program

LONDON – Blake Shelton has established a cancer research program in honour of his three-year-old cousin, who suffered from neuroblastoma at just five months old.

The 42-year-old country star has teamed up with Oklahoma University’s Children’s Hospital to open the Cancer Research Program in honour of his cousin Aspen Van Horn, who was treated at their Jimmy Everest Centre for a neuroblastoma tumour when she was just five months old.

A tweet from the Children’s Hospital Foundation read: “Oklahoma native and country music star,@blakeshelton, establishes the Blake Shelton Cancer Research Program in honor of his cousin, Aspen Van Horn.”

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that forms in the nerve tissue and is the most common cancer found in infants.

Van Horn had to endure two blood transfusions, three rounds of chemotherapy and a surgical procedure to remove much of her tumour, but thanks to successful treatments, she is set to celebrate her third birthday this January.

The tot’s mother Shayla said in 2017: “We are so thankful that Children’s is close to us and that they have the best paediatric physicians to care for Aspen. We didn’t have to leave the state to receive the care that Aspen needed. It would have been very hard for us to leave the state for that long. We were able to go home as we needed, and family members were able to visit and support Aspen without travelling long distance.”

For Shelton, this isn’t the first time he has publicly shown his support for the organisation that helped save his cousin’s life.

In 2016, he donated $600,000 to the Jimmy Everest Centre, whilst at in Oklahoma City for a concert stop.

On stage at the concert, he said: “They don’t turn any kids away. You come in there, you have a problem, they don’t turn anybody away, so I thought, ‘That’s a place that needs some money.’ Let’s all do the right thing. This is our money, Oklahoma.”

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