The program has been created in honor of Shelton's cousin Aspen, who underwent successful treatment at the hospital.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
December 18, 2018
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Country star Blake Shelton may get the most press as of late for his relationship with girlfriend Gwen Stefani, his gig as judge on NBC's The Voice, and his growing Ole Red restaurant empire, but it's his devotion to his home state, Oklahoma, that piques our interest the most.

As Oklahoma City's Oklahoma University's Children's Hospital Foundation announced via Twitter last week, "Oklahoma native and country music star,@blakeshelton, establishes the Blake Shelton Cancer Research Program in honor of his cousin, Aspen Van Horn."

In 2016, Blake Shelton donated $600,000 to the Children's Hospital Foundation in support of the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders during a tour stop in Oklahoma City. The incredible work the center does has impacted Shelton and his family firsthand. Shelton's cousin Aspen was first treated by the hospital at only a few months of age. Aspen went on to receive two blood transfusions, three rounds of chemo, and a surgical procedure to remove much of a neuroblastoma tumor. This January, after her successful treatments at the Children's Hospital, Aspen will celebrate her third birthday.

"We are so thankful that Children’s is close to us and that they have the best pediatric physicians to care for Aspen,” said Shayla Van Horn, Aspen’s mother in a Children's Hospital Foundation press release. “We didn’t have to leave the state to receive the care that Aspen needed. It would have been very hard for us to leave the state for that long. We were able to go home as we needed and family members were able to visit and support Aspen without traveling long distance.”

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“We are so thankful for Blake’s support in defeating childhood cancer,” said Chip Keating, Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Board President, in the same statement. “We have what I would consider to be one of the top cancer centers in America here at our footsteps, providing the best care possible for our kids with cancer. This research program will help us further our mission to see more kids ring the bell, symbolizing the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer.”

To help make ringing that most precious bell a reality for more families, you can make a donation to Blake Shelton's Cancer Research Program here.