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Polo on the Prairie's 15 Years Fund Array of M. D. Anderson Programs Event Set for April 21 in Albany, Texas

Polo on the Prairie's 15 Years Fund Array of M. D. Anderson Programs Event Set for April 21 in Albany, Texas
M. D. Anderson News Release 04/16/01

Over the last 15 years, Polo on the Prairie's support of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has touched all aspects of the institution, from quality of life patient programs to life-saving cancer research endeavors.

Having secured more than $1.7 million in funding since 1987, some 1,500 M. D. Anderson friends and supporters are expected to turn out for the annual polo tournament on April 21 at the Musselman Brothers Lazy 3 Ranch between Albany and Breckenridge, Texas. A family affair, some attendees have attended each year, often bringing to the cattle land turned-regulation polo field their children, grandchildren, extended family and friends.

Just as the popular West Texas fund raiser spans at least a couple of generations of supporters, the scope of support has come full circle as well.

"It is inspiring to recall the extraordinary breadth of programs Polo on the Prairie has made possible," says Mary Anne McCloud, who co-chairs the event with her daughter and son-in-law Melinda and Henry Musselman. "If our work has made a difference in the life of even one cancer patient with each passing year, it is worth it. But the most wonderful part is that I know our effort for the long term has truly mattered to so many patients and their family members."

In the cancer areas of breast, brain, skin, bone, prostate and ovary, just to name a few, funding has enabled basic laboratory research to be translated into clinical trials for patients. Innovative research approaches typically depend upon the support of private philanthropy, such as funding from Polo on the Prairie, to advance promising findings to the next level of investigation.

Several cancer prevention projects have been funded, including research into the ability of common foods to prevent certain cancers and Project Safety, a program created to educate teenagers through their biology classes about the harmful effects of the sun.

The event has launched or sustained a diverse array of other programs as well:

• For 15 years, Polo has funded the Anderson Network Hospitality Room, a special room at M. D. Anderson where today almost 25,300 patients and family members visit annually for comfort and support from volunteers who have had similar cancer experiences. In the earliest days of the event, proceeds furnished the space and helped develop the group's quarterly newsletter, which has since grown to reach 77,000 subscribers.

• Polo proceeds launched the Mobile Nurse Education Program in 1991 and continued funding the effort annually through 1996. The effort was a one-day training program designed to prepare nurses in rural hospitals, nursing homes and home health care agencies to give skilled care for cancer patients in local communities.

• As a free service to cancer patients, Polo funds helped sustain the Beauty/Barber Shop, which maintains a free service for M. D. Anderson patients. In 1989, Polo purchased men's and children's wigs, which were not regularly donated at that time.

• Thanks to early Polo support, M. D. Anderson's branch of the Cancer Information Service (1-800-4-CANCER) acquired modular office furniture to house phone information specialists as well as a new computerized data access system for more efficient operations. This year the information line celebrates 25 years of service to 9 million callers.

Adding to the festivities this year, top-notch amateur polo play will ensue and Nashville’s Walt Wilkins, who has written for country music big names Ty Herndon and Ricky Skaggs as well as past Polo entertainer Pat Green, will entertain the crowd. For the third consecutive year, fireworks against the crystal prairie sky will close out the evening, thanks to Tom Sikes and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Donnelly, who have underwritten the display.

To receive information on Polo on the Prairie, contact (800) 525-5841 or (713) 792-3450.


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center