Thousands of children each year are diagnosed with cancer, but behind every statistic there is a little boy or girl who is battling for a healthy future. That fight may be closer to home than you think.
Zaden Fisher is a 4-year-old Brazos County cowboy who wears his boots to sleep, loves Shetland ponies, and has a smile melts every heart. He is also a child living with cancer. Diagnosed when he was just 24 months old, Fisher has been fighting Acute Leukemia more than half his young life.
Fisher’s spark remains bright despite his tough journey through cancer treatment. “His parents do a fantastic job of making sure he has a normal, happy childhood outside of being at his treatments and at the hospital,” says Shasta Horn, the 2012 chair of Cattle Baron’s Ball, the annual fundraiser hosted by the American Cancer Society. Fisher’s story struck a chord with the Cattle Baron’s Ball committee members. They year they will honor the fight of all cancer patients by shining a spotlight on Fisher’s personal cancer journey at the Cattle Baron’s Ball with the goal of raising both money and awareness in the ongoing fight against cancer.
Each year at Cattle Baron’s Ball there is a restricted Gift Ask for a specific project such as transportation services or a research project. This year, Zaden’s story inspired Horn to make the Gift Ask to fund leukemia research. “I am very proud of that and it warms me to know how many people care,” Horn says, adding that Fisher’s story and proximity to home have resonated with people in the Brazos Valley.
Dr. Coran Watanabe is currently researching leukemia through a grant funded by the American Cancer Society at Texas A&M University; sponsors have donated $3,000 toward Dr. Watanabe’s research. This year, the Cattle Baron’s Ball will hold a Gift Ask to donate funds to grow the grant so her leukemia research can continue.
With the help of donations from Mike and Linda Orgochock, Horn has put together a special package for Fisher and his parents, Trey and Amanda. “We’ve been extremely blessed for the amount of things people have donated,” Horn says. Fisher is unable to travel far because of his weekly visits to MD Anderson, so all of the donations are based in Texas. His family will receive a weekend stay at the JW Marriot Resort and Spa in San Antonio; tickets to the San Antonio Zoo; and tickets to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
“The one thing he asked for was a Shetland pony,” says Horn when she tells about asking Fisher what he wanted. Through a fortunate chain of events, a family who happened to have a Shetland pony heard of Fisher’s wish. Kendal Shepherd, a 7-year-old Brazos County resident, was overwhelmed with compassion for Fisher and decided to give him her Shetland pony. Shepherd will personally give Hershey, the Shetland, to Fisher the week after the Cattle Baron’s Ball.
By putting a special face and story in the fight against cancer, the Cattle Baron’s Ball committee hopes to inspire even more people to get involved in the fight to both end can and to generous support those who are in the fight against cancer for a healthy future.
If You Go
What: American Cancer Society Cattle Barons’ Ball
When: February 4, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Brazos County Expo
How: Call (979) 776-1464 for ticket reservations.
“Big Hats, Big Hearts” is the theme of this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball to be held February 4 at the Brazos County Expo. A Gift Ask will be held to donate money toward a grant for leukemia research at Texas A&M University in honor of 4-year-old cancer patient Zaden Fisher. Fisher’s parents, Trey and Amanda, will be in attendance. The Ball begins at 6 p.m. for VIP’s and 7 p.m. for Ranch Hand ticket purchasers. Tickets are $200 for the VIP Corral and $125 for Ranch Hands and can be purchased in advance by calling (979) 776-1464. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.