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Events and Fundraisers

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By Sarah Watson

A Conversation With a Living Legend: Hot Topics in Dallas, Houston

Mary Matalin and James Carville Photo by Richard Carson

Since 1990, A Conversation With a Living Legend events in Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C., have raised more than $8 million for M. D. Anderson’s research, patient care and educational initiatives. Dallas and Houston luncheons in 2008 added another successful chapter to the popular event.

The 19th annual A Conversation With a Living Legend in Dallas raised a record $1 million. The Oct. 24 luncheon at the Hilton Anatole featured oil and gas industry entrepreneur and longtime philanthropist T. Boone Pickens in an interview with Evan Smith, president and editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly magazine.

As some 800 guests found their places, the event’s fundraising tally topped $905,000, including a $100,000 contribution from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation. Pickens and wife Madeleine, escorted by the Oklahoma State University Cowboy Marching Band, entered to the tune of a Pickens’ favorite, his alma mater’s fight song.

A surprise announcement from John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson, revealed that Madeleine Pickens had moments before offered a donation bringing the total to $1 million. Mendelsohn presented Pickens the institution’s Making Cancer History® Award, given to individuals who reflect the institution’s core values of caring, integrity and discovery. Andrews Distributing and AT&T were presenting sponsors, and Lana and Barry Andrews served as co-chairs.

Dynamic presidential campaign duo Mary Matalin and James Carville headlined the second annual A Conversation With a Living Legend Dec. 9 at the Hilton Americas-Houston, raising more than $400,000. Veteran ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson interviewed the couple, while former Houston television news anchor Shara Fryer led the program as mistress of ceremonies.

Matalin and Carville co-authored the New York Times best seller, “All’s Fair: Love, War and Running for President” in 1994. Between them, they’ve worked for every U.S. president during the past 25 years.

“The degree of energy and enthusiasm Ms. Matalin and Mr. Carville bring to the political arena is exceptional, and it is matched by our appreciation for their participation,” said Mendelsohn.

Luncheon chairs were Elyse and Bob Lanier and Courtney and Christopher Sarofim. Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Barbara and Charles Hurwitz, Joan Schnitzer Levy and Irvin Levy and Beth Sanders Moore and Jess Moore served as honorary chairs.

Donors Take Action Against Bone Disease

Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens 

Photo by Dana Driensky

In 2000, Berdon Lawrence, a member of M. D. Anderson’s Board of Visitors, and his wife, Rolanette, gave $2 million to establish the Bone Disease Program of Texas. A milestone in collaborations between M. D. Anderson and Baylor College of Medicine, the program focuses on bone disease research. Some 10 million people suffer from bone disease in the United States.

Recently the two institutions announced the Lawrences’ additional $4 million gift to the program to help expand clinical care and research into the area of bone disease. In honor of their commitment, advocacy and support, John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson, announced the program’s new name: the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas.

Through the generosity of the Lawrences and the hard work of those involved in the program, M. D. Anderson and Baylor have established core facilities enabling microCT scanning for small bones, histologic analysis of bone samples and other services. In addition, the program has funded numerous research grants, attracting scientists from outside the field of bone research whose expertise has in turn led to the program’s steady growth.

Future plans include expanding the annual awards and clinical programs and recruiting additional research faculty.

Santa’s Elves Spread Holiday Cheer

Santa’s Elves Tilman and Paige Fertitta, from left, and Patsy and Greg Fourticq 

Photo by Pete Baatz

A children’s choir singing carols, a soaring Christmas tree, festive decorations throughout and a feast of sweet and savory treats: Paige and Tilman Fertitta’s Houston home set the scene for the Santa’s Elves Party benefiting the Children’s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson.

Nearly 200 guests ushered in the holiday season by joining in the celebration and raising more than $67,000 to support two research programs at the Children’s Cancer Hospital:

  • ON to Cure, or Optimizing Nutrition to Cure, a program using biochemical measurements to determine the link between nutrition and response to therapy 
  • PAL for Childhood Cancer Survivors, or the Promoting and Assessing Lifestyles program, a multidisciplinary effort to personalize nutrition and exercise regimens and to foster healthy habits

The Santa’s Elves tradition began in 2006, when Gregory Fourticq Jr. surprised his parents, Patsy and Greg Fourticq, with a party to celebrate the Norman Jaffe Professorship in Pediatrics in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary. Joining the Fourticqs as founding chairs were Diane and John B. Connally III, Courtney Hill Fertitta and Jason Fertitta and Beth Sanders Moore and Jess Moore.

Event chairs for 2008 included members of M. D. Anderson’s Advance Team and their spouses: Katie Earthman Cullen and Harry Cullen, Jill and Brad Deutser, Ashley and Lance Loeffler, Kathryn and Tom Wilson and Nancy and Don Woo.

Spring 2009 Contents

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center