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Great Expectations Inspire Couple’s Philanthropy

Sheridan and John Eddie Williams enjoy a quiet moment at home with their cat, Max. Photo by John Everett

By Michelle Moore

Sheridan and John Eddie Williams live by an eight-word philosophy: To whom much is given, much is expected. This core value has led the couple to donate much of their lives to philanthropic efforts, especially those pertaining to children.

It’s no surprise, then, that MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital is at the top of their list. They recently gave $250,000 to the osteosarcoma research of Eugenie S. Kleinerman, M.D., professor and head of the Division of Pediatrics.

“I have such respect for Dr. Kleinerman,” says Sheridan, who owns an interior design business. “She has devoted her life to children’s cancer.”

Sheridan joined The University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors (BOV) in 2008. When fellow BOV members asked her to be part of a Children’s Cancer Hospital advisory group, she enthusiastically accepted. In that capacity, Sheridan is helping raise funds to renovate and expand the pediatric inpatient unit on the ninth floor of the Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital to include a pediatric intensive care unit and day hospital. The project also includes plans to renovate the Robin Bush Child and Adolescent Clinic on the seventh floor, where MD Anderson’s pediatric patients see their doctors.

Sheridan describes John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of MD Anderson, as “a fantastic leader.”
“We all hate to see him step down as president,” she says, “but I know he’s interested in doing research in personalized cancer therapies and will continue his good work through that.”

John Eddie echoes those sentiments. His appreciation for MD Anderson dates to the 1990s when, as a trial lawyer, he represented the state of Texas against the tobacco industry. Charles A. LeMaistre, M.D., former president of MD Anderson, was one of the chief witnesses.

“Through that representation I got to know people at MD Anderson,” says John Eddie. “The institution offers the finest cancer research and patient care in the country. It’s a real asset for our community.”

Sheridan and John Eddie actively support numerous nonprofit organizations in Houston.

“We’re fortunate to be able to contribute to programs that benefit the community,” says John Eddie. “Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis. It’s exciting to see such tremendous progress and what research has achieved. Many people are beating this terrible disease and living productive and happy lives as a result.”

John Eddie proudly points to a photograph of his wife accepting an award, one of many such awards as Sheridan graces best-dressed lists from Houston to New York. She recently landed a spot as an ambassador for designer Donna Karan. Perhaps more impressive are the words Sheridan offers in response:

“It’s nice to dress up, but philanthropy is what it’s all about. Looking good means nothing if you aren’t making a difference.”


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center