• pr@wokc.org
  • 214-987-4662

Our History

  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s
  • 2020s

1980s – Incorporated a non-profit organization intending to support novel groundbreaking pediatric cancer research.

1983 – The first major project funded focused on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common disease killer of children under 18. Paved the way for Children’s Medical Center Dallas to have worldwide prominence.

1985 – Launched the annual Tom Thumb Run for the Children at Oktoberfest in Addison. 34 years later it is still running!!

1987 – Launched the Ambassador Program, which provides fun events for children with cancer, their siblings, and parents.

1988 – Funded a research project at Children’s Medical Center Dallas (Children’s Dallas) on the long-term follow-up of the child cured of cancer that helped inspire and launch the “After Cancer Experience” program at Children’s Dallas, one of the first programs ever offered globally on the continuum of follow-up care to monitor the late effects of cancer and its treatment on the child cured of cancer.

1998 – The organization was renamed to Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC).

2000s – Funded research in bone tumors, leukemia, and neuroblastoma.

2003 – Funded the Visiting Professor Endowment Fund at Children’s for hematology/oncology and hosted the first WOKC Golf Classic.

2004 – Texas Ranger Michael Young and wife Cristina supported WOKC programs for children with cancer. WOKC committed to 5-year funding of Spanish translator for Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

2007 – Constructed the D Tower playroom on the oncology floor for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders for Children’s Health.

2008 – Launched the Buddy Bag Program, a rolling suitcase filled with comfort and hygiene items delivered to children on their first day of admission to the hospital for cancer diagnosis. The Buddy Bag Program is a WOKC signature program.

2010 – Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving – adopted it as its corporate philanthropy nationally.

2010 – Funded 5-hospital collaboration study “Metabolic Syndrome in Childhood Brain Tumor Survivors Relapse Study on Medulloblastoma” between Cook Children’s (Fort Worth), Children’s Medical Central (Dallas), MD Anderson (Houston), TX Children’s (Houston), Children’s Hospital (Ok City) resulted in Cook Children’s CPRIT Grant of $1.9 million and participation in the joint trial with St. Jude’s (Memphis).

2014 – Expanded the Ambassador program to Cook Children’s; expanded the Buddy Bag Program to Medical City.

2015 – Provided seed funding of $135,000 to Dr. Michael Hogarty at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), for the study “Mechanisms of Polyaminins Depletion Anti-Tumor Activity in Neuroblastoma” producing additional NIH funding of $1.5 million (2018).

2016 – Expanded the Ambassador Program to Medical City Children’s Dallas.

2018 – Luke Laufenberg became the Run Marshall for the 33rd Run for the Children at Oktoberfest; Luke valiantly fought Burkitt’s Leukemia until earning his Angel Wings in August 2019.

2019 – Contributed to the largest pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia (TpAML) genetic study (Whole Genome Sequencing) in the U.S. by supporting a computational biologist to analyze biobank genetic information. Ambassador Program renamed the Warrior Family Program for active members, reserving Ambassador status for those that have graduated from the program. WOKC expanded corporate supporters to include the Texas Roughriders, Cleburne Railroaders, and Dallas Rattlers along with Texas Legends.

2020 – 40th Anniversary (1980 – 2020) of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (deferred to 2021 due to COVID)

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Meet the Founder

Cindy Brinker Simmons

Cindy Brinker Simmons graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and Spanish.  Upon returning to Dallas after graduation, Cindy began a fulfilling thirty-year career in public relations.  As owner and president of an agency, she later merged with another, and co-founded Levenson & Brinker Public Relations.  She specialized in brand awareness, strategic and creative marketing, event management, and promotional programs.  Cindy retired in 2012 to work on other business and civic opportunities.

Coinciding with her professional career, Cindy established Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC) in 1980.  The pediatric cancer nonprofit was founded in memory of her mother, world tennis champion Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly Brinker, who died of cancer in 1969 at the age of 34.

Cindy is president of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCB), an internationally respected junior tennis organization.  MCB has pioneered junior tennis development since 1968 for young talented players through its national and international tournaments and its initiatives promoting good sportsmanship and strong moral character.

In 2008, Cindy was appointed by Texas Speaker Tom Craddick to the Oversight Committee of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), a state agency designed to fund groundbreaking cancer grants, to bring top cancer specialists to the state, and to create cancer prevention programs and services throughout Texas.  Cindy completed her three-year term on CPRIT’s Oversight Committee, serving as its secretary, to establish and manage the operations, policies, and staff of the Institute.

Cindy has devoted herself to charitable concerns and ministry-related organizations.  She has received many distinguished awards for her leadership and philanthropy throughout the years.

She authored the popular book, LITTLE MO’s LEGACY: A Mother’s Lessons, A Daughter’s Story.  The book chronicles the lessons Cindy’s late mother taught her in life and in death.  She is currently completing a second book.

Cindy has one adult son.  Her husband passed away in 2005 after a valiant three-year battle with cancer.

The WOKC Team

Aashik Khakoo, WOKC CEO
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Aashik Khakoo

CEO
Aashik Khakoo is a passionate business executive specializing in business development, strategic planning, process improvement, and people development. He has spent his career in the consumer products industry working for multi-billion dollar companies such as Diageo, Heineken, and Moet Hennessy.

Aashik volunteered for Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer for 15 months, serving as Vice-Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the WOKC Strategic Planning Committee developing new spokes of revenue generation. Aashik has been CEO since August and is very excited about WOKC becoming a long-term leader helping children with cancer.

Outside of work Aashik is an avid golfer, participates in Toastmasters, and works with both children and adults in their professional development, including public speaking, interviewing skills, and academic improvement.

Aashik has been married for 18 years and has three teenage boys.

Ann Whaley

Director of Development
Ann comes to WOKC with twenty years of non-profit development experience, her second career after her career BC (Before Children) in radio and television broadcasting. Since the age of ten, she has lived in Dallas and has been an active volunteer in her church, children's schools, Junior League, NCL, and several political campaigns.

Ann is an avid sports fan and is passionate about serving her community. She enjoys travel, cooking, swimming, and anything outdoors. Her greatest joy is her extended family and her three grown children Phillip, and his wife Erin, Sara, Peter, and brand- new granddaughter, Rosie.

Emily Lander

Marketing and Operations Coordinator
Emily was born and raised in Houston, TX. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Business Degree in Marketing. She enjoys traveling, basketball, cooking, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family.

Emily previously interned for various businesses and nonprofits during her time at SMU. She is a very active alumni of SMU and loves to attend the football games. She is thrilled to join Wipe Out Kids' Cancer in the Marketing and Operations Coordinator role.

How You Can Help