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Baylor College of Medicine News

Young Hollywood star shines spotlight on Vannie Cook Clinic

The Vannie Cook Children's Cancer and Hematology Clinic went Hollywood Sept. 15 at Variety magazine's sixth annual Power of Youth event, where it was recognized as the spotlight charity of rising star Diego Boneta.

The event encourages the next generation of entertainers to support philanthropic and humanitarian causes, using their stature to encourage their peers and fans to do the same.

Boneta, whose Hollywood breakthrough came in the film "Rock of Ages," chose to support the Vannie Cook Clinic in McAllen, Texas, where his mother grew up. The Vannie Cook Clinic is a joint program of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital and the Vannie E. Cook 
Children's Cancer Foundation.

Showing his support

"We are extremely honored to be chosen as Diego's charity for this event. He could have chosen any national organization out there but instead chose to give back to children in the Rio Grande Valley," said Victoria Martinez, director of development at the Vannie Cook Clinic.

Boneta has shown his support of the clinic in other ways as well. He has made an appearance at the Clinic's radiothon fundraiser for the past two years, where he took pictures with young patients and spent time interacting with them and talking about the Clinic on air.

More than 6,200 children have been treated at the Vannie Cook Clinic since it opened in 2001. Many of these patients previously would have traveled to San Antonio or Houston for their treatment, a hardship physically, emotionally and financially for them and their families.

Favorite actor 2012

Representing the clinic at the Power of Youth event, which was held on Paramount's Streets of New York set, were Laura Martinez Ilgun, executive director of the Vannie Cook Cancer Foundation, and Adrienne Longoria, a clinic volunteer.

Boneta was named Favorite Movie Actor at the 2012 ALMA Awards, which highlight the best American Latino contributions to music, television and film. He has had roles in the television series
"90210" and "Pretty Little Liars" and on the Mexican telenovela "Rebelde." In addition, Boneta has released two Spanish albums and was nominated as the Best Solo Singer at the MTV Awards Latin America.

The other young celebrities participating in this year's Power of Youth initiative were the Jonas Brothers, Vanessa Hudgens, "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland, "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks and actress Kat Graham. All of the celebrities' chosen charities will share in the proceeds from the event, with each one receiving at least $10,000.