Nonprofit Helps Families Through Childhood Cancer


Ava Danuser shows off part of her collection with Stoney Clover Ln. | Image by Salood/Facebook

Salood, a Dallas-based nonprofit, provides financial assistance to families dealing with childhood cancer.

The organization’s name is a play on the Spanish word Salud, which means health or well-being. It is also used in a celebratory fashion as a toast, similar to the word “cheers” in English.

Founded in 2019, Salood runs an “Ambassador Program” and a “Financial Relief Program,” which work hand in hand.

Salood’s Ambassador Program pairs children and teens between the ages of 10-18, currently diagnosed with cancer and/or in remission and living in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, or the Houston area, with companies to raise money for any family affected by pediatric cancer.

The partnership between the children and companies creates and sells unique products. By selling these products, Salood is “able to raise funds and offer financial relief.”

One teenager who actively works with Salood is Ava Danuser, a freshman at Highland Park High School, who was diagnosed with rare bone cancer.

“I was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, which is a type of cancer,” said 15-year-old Danuser. “So that was pretty stressful for me.”

Ewing sarcoma typically occurs in children and young adults. Its symptoms include bone pain, localized swelling, and tenderness.

Danuser underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatment at Medical City Dallas Texas Oncology Pediatrics.

“Food turned really bad at one point,” Danuser said. “I couldn’t eat a lot of my favorite foods because they tasted like cardboard … so it was really hard.”

Danuser is currently an ambassador for Salood, which has paired her with Stoney Clover Lane to design a line of bags, the organization’s 12th such collaboration. Danuser’s design features butterflies to symbolize hope and transformation.

“Their life really changes overnight,” Salood co-founder Kenny Freeland said. “It can be stressful.”

Freeland, a graduate of Texas A&M University, remembers the stress. As a child, he repeatedly developed kidney stones that put him in the hospital for 1-2 weeks at a time. The condition is rare for children.

“I can remember some of the procedures I was going to go through would be thousands of dollars,” Freeland recalled. “As a kid I remember thinking, that’s a lot of money, and then as an adult, I still think that’s a lot of money!”

Danuser’s product line makes it possible for her to make a difference.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” Danuser said. “It just makes you feel good when you know you’ve helped a lot of people’s lives.”

The profits from collaborations like Danuser’s have helped 200 families so far, according to Salood.

“We hope it actually gives them some hope and it takes away a layer of stress,” Freeland said. “It can remind them that there’s a lot of communities, a lot of organizations, who are there to rally behind them and to help them. They’re not doing this alone.”

Danuser’s line of bags designed for Salood can be seen and purchased here.

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