Band hosts cancer survivor to raise awareness
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 00:09
The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band will play host to an honorary guest Saturday during the game against Southern Methodist University — a 6-year-old cancer survivor by the name of Charlie Dina.
Nick Baker, public relations officer of the band unit B-Company and senior sports management major, said the idea to host Charlie came from friends who wanted to do more.
“Me and my buddies decided we wanted to do something different this year in terms of giving back,” Baker said. “We’ve always been taught at A&M, especially in the Corps, that something very important to us is
selfless service.” Baker said he hopes hosting Charlie for the game will both give him an unforgettable experience and raise awareness for pediatric cancer.
Part of the band’s goal to raise awareness will entail wearing bracelets, both to honor of Charlie and to drum up attention to the fact that September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
“I’ll introduce him to the band [on Saturday morning], and the band will get the chance to meet Charlie and his family,” Baker said. “He’s going to sit with us during the game, and the whole band is going to wear his bracelet. Then, during halftime, he’ll be on the sideline watching the Aggie Band, close and personal.”
Charlie was diagnosed with stage-four nueroblastoma, a pediatric cancer, in 2012. He underwent five rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and other treatment before scans showed no evidence of the cancer in May of 2013. Angela Dina, Charlie’s mother, said even though Charlie is in remission he still must undergo three months of scans to confirm whether the cancer is returning or if it is still in remission.
Charlie’s Angels, a website dedicated to spreading Charlie’s story and raising money for cancer research and treatment, gives out the bracelets the band will wear to those who donate in Charlie’s name.
The bracelets have a scripture verse from Philippians 4:13.
“The verse reads, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,’” Dina said. “We felt like that verse was the verse that we claimed in healing over our son.”
Both Baker and Dina said Charlie’s trip to Aggieland will mean a lot to spreading pediatric cancer awareness.
“We’ve always known our Aggie friends and family to be such a community, and I think the outpouring and support from the band, specifically, and the Corps this weekend is phenomenal because it’ll not only be fun for children but it’s going to raise some awareness and knowledge of pediatric cancer,” Dina said.
Charlie’s visit to campus is not the first time he has been affiliated with Texas A&M. Johnny Manziel has worn Charlie’s bracelet during games and talked about Charlie’s role in his life during his Heisman speech.
Austin Haines, senior computer engineering major and member of B-Company, said hosting Charlie for the game is a great way to give both Charlie and the band a great experience.
“It’s important for Charlie just to give him some sort of outstanding experience,” Haines said. “He’s made it through remission, and it’s almost a celebration but at the same time it’s letting him know that there are other people out there who care for him, especially a nationally famous organization such as the Fighting Texas Aggie Band.”
The Charles M. Dina Foundation was recently formed by Charlie’s parents to raise funding and awareness for pediatric cancer in general. Those interested in donating or in receiving one of Charlie’s bracelets can email email@example.com.