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Annual Chaplaincy Event to Honor KPRC's Linda Lorelle, Dr. John Mendelsohn

Annual fundraiser benefits spirituality support services at M. D. Anderson

M. D. Anderson News Release 01/11/06

The 13th annual "Loving Hearts and Caring Hands" awards dinner, benefiting the Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Education at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, will honor local KPRC-TV news-anchor Linda Lorelle and M. D. Anderson's own President John Mendelsohn, M.D. on the evening of Jan. 17 at the Intercontinental Houston Hotel, 2222 West Loop South.

The event, which celebrates the department's more than 500,000 pastoral visits to M. D. Anderson patients, caregivers and employees during the past three decades, has raised more than $1.5 million in the last 12 years for the Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Education, and has paid tribute to 40 local and national cancer advocates, opinion leaders, philanthropists and religious leaders.

M. D. Anderson's Executive Vice President Leon Leach and his wife, Tensel, are honorary chairs for the event. Fellow KPRC anchor Khambrell Marshall will serve as the evening's emcee.

The event recognizes M. D. Anderson's 24-hour in-house spiritual support program. The Department of Chaplaincy offers 11 different worship services per week, as well as pastoral care, daily prayer and support groups for patients and their families.

According to 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 healthcare ministry both at M. D. Anderson and in the community.

Lorelle and Mendelsohn join a prestigious group of individuals 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, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Sam and Jan Donaldson, Anne Mendelsohn, Rabbi Samuel Karff, Jack S. Blanton, Sr., Bishop Joseph Fiorenza and others.

A critically acclaimed and two-time Emmy Award winning anchor, Lorelle has been delivering the news to Houstonians since 1989. She has covered such important world events as the first inaugurations of both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the shuttle Columbia tragedy, and astronaut John Glenn's return to space. A longtime supporter of M. D. Anderson's educational and outreach efforts, Lorelle worked with the institution to create "Buddy Check 2: Beating the Breast Cancer Odds," an award-winning television series about breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. She also has moderated M. D. Anderson's "Healthy Woman's Symposium," a community-wide educational event that empowers women to take charge of their health and offers the latest news from M. D. Anderson experts. Lorelle's special interest in education and children led her to establish the Linda Lorelle Scholarship fund, a charity that provides major college scholarships and support to Houston-area students. To date, the fund has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships to more than 200 students.

This year marks Mendelsohn's 10th anniversary as president of M. D. Anderson. Under his leadership,

M. D. Anderson has experienced the greatest growth in its history. For more than three decades, Mendelsohn has been at the forefront in research to determine how growth factors regulate the proliferation of cancer cells by activating receptors on cell surfaces. This research led to a new targeted cancer treatment, which he co-discovered, Erbitux, being approved by the FDA in 2004 for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. He was the founding editor of the scientific journal Clinical Cancer Research, has authored more than 300 paper and articles on his research, and was recently elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Outside of M. D. Anderson, Mendelsohn currently serves as vice chairman of BioHouston, Inc., and is an active member of the Greater Houston Partnership, The Houston Technology Center and the Center for Houston's Future.

Individual tickets for "Loving Hearts and Caring Hands" 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