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Giving Back Is Job One

Dorothy Paterson, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® board member, and John Mendelsohn, M.D., at Komen’s 2010 gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Paterson

By Michelle Moore

A few years ago, Dorothy Paterson, of Houston, told a friend that she wanted to get her career out of the way so that she could devote her life to philanthropy. He replied, “I think your job was just preparation. Philanthropy is your career.”

Paterson is a 13-year breast cancer survivor who was successfully treated at MD Anderson. Today she relies on the spirit and resilience that got her through that experience to help others on their cancer journeys.

In 2002, Paterson became one of the original Pink Ribbons volunteers, MD Anderson breast cancer survivors who offer support to current breast cancer patients. Since 2007, she has served on the institution’s Advance Team advisory board.

“I get to be with people who have big hearts and lots of passion to proudly show the world what MD Anderson is all about,” says Paterson.

Paterson’s advocacy has led her into full-time volunteer work for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization. To date, Komen for the Cure® has awarded more than $55 million for breast cancer research at MD Anderson.  

Once traveling the world as a geologist for large oil companies, Paterson now travels the world as an international race ambassador on the Komen Board of Directors. She has assisted in starting up races around the world, most recently in Israel and Egypt.

Paterson says she’s proud to be a part of her two favorite organizations.

“A strong and long relationship has existed between MD Anderson and Susan G. Komen,” says Paterson. “One plus one equals 10 when you add together the energy of these two beautiful organizations. I owe my life to both.”


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center