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The right thing to do

Promise - Summer 2012

Couple discovers the gift 
is in the giving


By Johnny Rigg

Joan and Lewis Jordan
Courtesy photo

Reasons to give abound, but for Lewis Jordan and his wife, Joan, recognition is not one of them.

As a former airline executive, Lewis is accustomed to attention. But when it comes to charitable contributions, generally the Jordans prefer to make unrestricted donations and request anonymity.

“We like to give to organizations that we feel a personal connection with,” says Lewis. “While working in Houston, for example, I became aware of the great work MD Anderson was doing.

Now, Joan’s pancreatic cancer has been in remission for three years, and we credit her being alive and feeling well to 
MD Anderson.”

Long lost love

In their hometown of Griffin, Ga., Lewis and Joan began a friendship that would span a lifetime.

“I carry a photo of us that was taken at my 4th birthday party,” Lewis says.

After high school, the two went their separate ways, both moving to Atlanta for educational pursuits: Lewis at the Georgia Institute of Technology to study aerospace engineering, Joan at Georgia Baptist Hospital School of Nursing.

Lewis and Joan only saw each other over the years at Griffin High School class reunions, but found comfort in their old friendship.

“We felt at home again when we were together,” Joan says.

Eventually, Lewis concluded his various business commitments and bought a house on Amelia Island near Fernandina Beach, Fla. to begin a close relationship with his childhood friend.

“We had one year of joy together,” he says. “Suddenly she wasn’t feeling well, and we got the horrible diagnosis.”

In August 2008, Joan began treatment at MD Anderson for pancreatic cancer. Her treatment was temporarily interrupted when Hurrican Ike hit Houston.

It was during this trying time that Lewis and Joan decided to move forward with their plans.

On Sept. 20, 2008, the Jordans were married in the chapel at MD Anderson.

“We cannot say enough about the good work MD Anderson does,” Lewis says. “We believe that if you have the ability to give, it’s simply the right thing to do.”


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center