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A Hobby of Helping Others

Hicks believes a life of service is time well spent


By Miriam Smith

 Gloria Hicks

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.

 Click on the image to watch a video about the
MD Anderson smoking prevention event Gloria Hicks organized for middle school students in Corpus Christi.

“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.

“My dad had prostate cancer 50 years ago,” she says. “He went through clinical trials at MD Anderson, and they gave him 13 extra years. MD Anderson’s been pretty special to me since then.”

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:

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center