Amazon hosts child cancer survivors for robotic fun

Company raising awareness for need for pediatric research funding

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SAN ANTONIO – Ten-year-old Angel is a brain tumor survivor. But, as he tinkers with small batteries, wires and magnets,  he’s also a builder, a scientist and innovator.

"I made a cool car," he said.

Angel is among the small group of children invited to Camp Amazon Friday morning. The trillion-dollar company that knows a thing or two about robotics invited children who’ve been diagnosed with cancer to play.

Eight-year-old Isle beams with pride as she pushes the buttons on her remote control to maneuver her hand-built purple robotic car. One year ago, she underwent a bone marrow transplant.

For 7-year-old Amanda, who’s in remission from leukemia, the day seems to be good medicine.

"It’s just great for the kids to get out of the clinic, out of the hospital, interact and have fun," said Amanda’s mom.

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Children placed a hand-print sticker on Amazon's Go Gold van to raise awareness of childhood cancer, organizers said. (Photo Credit: Jennifer M. Ramos)

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. To raise awareness about the need for research and funding, the e-commerce giant hosted eight similar events at its sprawling warehouses around the country.

More than 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. And, it’s the No. 1 cause of disease-related childhood deaths.

"A large amount of our funding goes to adult cancers, and that’s because a lot of research funding comes from industry," said Dr. Greg Aune, pediatric oncologist with University Health.

Aune, a childhood cancer survivor himself, says because child cancer numbers are small compared to adult, there is less economic incentive to develop drugs.

In addition to offering  the children a good time, Amazon also presented a $10,000 check to to University Children’s Health.

“It’s a really cool privilege to be here,” said Angel.

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