A Hobby of Helping Others
Hicks believes a life of service is time well spent
By Miriam Smith
If Gloria Hicks is in the room, you’ll probably join her unofficial fan club by the end of the experience. The petite grandmother of three packs a punch of enthusiasm that radiates through the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, which she joined in 2003.
“I don’t have many millions of dollars, but I’m very high energy,” she says. “I like to put events together, and I like to get the word out about MD Anderson.”
Last year, for example, the Corpus Christi native gathered 5,000 middle school students to watch an IceRays (North American Hockey League) game and hear a smoking prevention message from MD Anderson cancer prevention experts. This year, she hosted a women’s health seminar called Why “XX” Matters. The event brought doctors from the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health at Texas Tech University, where she’s on the national advisory board, to present alongside MD Anderson physicians.
Hicks and her husband, Ed, have owned a car dealership in Corpus Christi since 1972, and both continue to work there full time. The two lived across the street from each other as children.
“I was friends with his mom,” she says. “I’d hang out with her after school because she had air conditioning, and we didn’t.”
She says her passion has always been helping children. Fourteen years ago the Hicks’ dealership started a program called Read to Achieve, through which underprivileged elementary school students earn a dollar for every book they read.
In 2009, Corpus Christi Independent School District trustees voted to name an elementary school in a disadvantaged neighborhood after Hicks. She was the only living person in consideration for the honor.
When asked what she likes to do for fun, Hicks says her hobby is helping others. MD Anderson is a lucky recipient of her steadfast dedication, which stems from her father.
Hicks supports its mission as a volunteer, spokesperson and donor, something she’s done since 1980.
“It’s such a great institution,” she says. “I have MD Anderson in my will because we’re going to see more and more cancer. I want to save people’s lives.”
Philanthropy in Focus
Programs Hicks has supported over the past 34 years include:
- The Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas
- The Annual Fund
- George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research
- UT System Capital Improvement Program
- South Campus Research Initiative: Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research
- Chaplaincy Community Programs Fund
- Dallas A Conversation With A Living Legend®
- Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation
- Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy
- Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic
- Anne and John Mendelsohn Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research
- San Antonio A Conversation With A Living Legend®
- Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program