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Annual Chaplaincy Event to Honor Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Nellie Connally

Annual Chaplaincy Event to Honor Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Nellie Connally
Annual fundraiser benefits spirituality support services at M. D. Anderson
M. D. Anderson News Release 10/04/04

Two prominent women in Texas politics will be honored for their active support of cancer research and patient care at the 12th annual “Loving Hearts and Caring Hands” awards dinner the evening of Oct. 19 at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston.

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and former First Lady Nellie B. Connally will be honored at the event that has raised more than $1.5 million in the last 11 years for the Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Education at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and paid tribute to 40 well-known cancer advocates, opinion leaders, philanthropists and religious leaders.
M. D. Anderson Board of Visitors member Jim Dannenbaum and his wife, Shirley, are honorary chairs for the event.

The event celebrates and benefits M. D. Anderson’s 24-hour in-house spiritual support program. The Department of Chaplaincy offers 14 different worship services per week, as well as pastoral care, daily prayer and support groups for patients and their families.

According to the newly installed director of the department, Rev. David Jenkins, the spiritual guidance services provide strength to patients or caregivers who are dealing with uncertainties, difficult treatments, grief or end-of-life issues. With a wide representation of many faiths, the Department of Chaplaincy also trains and prepares individuals for the health ministry both at M. D. Anderson and in the community.

Sen. Hutchison and Mrs. Connally join a prestigious group of people previously honored by the “Loving Hearts and Caring Hands” event, including President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, Bob and Mica Mosbacher, Katie Couric, Sam and Jan Donaldson, Anne Mendelsohn, Rabbi Samuel Karff, Jack S. Blanton, Sr., Bishop Joseph Fiorenza and others.

Since her election to the U.S. Senate, Sen. Hutchison has supported increased federal funding for research to Texas institutions, not only in cancer research but biotechnology and nanotechnology. In 1997, Texas ranked sixth in the nation for incoming federal research dollars while today, it is ranked fourth. Sen. Hutchison sponsored the Hematological Cancer Research Investment and Education Act signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, a law that directed the National Institutes of Health to establish a coordinated blood cancer research initiative. A component of that program, M. D. Anderson was awarded a five-year $12.75 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in leukemia known as the Joe Moakley Research Excellence Program in honor of one of Sen. Hutchison’s Senate colleagues who died of leukemia. Sen. Hutchison also has been instrumental in focusing resources on The University of Texas Research Park. Her initiative known as The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas is working to develop and attract the best scientific minds in the field to the state.

A former first lady of Texas, Mrs. Connally is a senior member of M. D. Anderson’s Board of Visitors, a 15-year breast cancer survivor, active fund-raiser for breast cancer research and namesake for M. D. Anderson’s Breast Center. She has been instrumental in raising dollars for the Nellie B. Connally Breast Cancer Research Fund at M. D. Anderson by co-chairing annual fund-raising events at Saks Fifth Avenue. In 1991, Mrs. Connally was an honoree of the 50th anniversary celebration of M. D. Anderson, an event that launched her breast cancer research fund by raising more than $2 million. Mrs. Connally enjoys visiting and giving encouragement to patients and families at the breast center at every possible opportunity. 

Individual tickets for the event are $250 per person or table prices range from $2,500 to $25,000. For information, please call 713/862-8482.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center