Fundraising for MD Anderson is a great way to become an active participant in making a difference in the outcomes of patients everywhere.
Here are ways to help us raise money:
- Third-Party Events are fundraising events that consist of small-scale projects coordinated by young children to large-scale events coordinated by professionals, all of which are dedicated to Making Cancer History®. By participating in Third Party Fundraising, be it through online or an actual event or a combination of both, you help us grow not only our monetary resources but also our geographic outreach as a community representative in our fight to end cancer. A licensing agreement will need to be executed in order to be granted access to the use of the MD Anderson name and/or logo on your promotional materials.
- Boot Walk to End Cancer® is an annual 1.2 mile walk in Houston held each November. Participants have their own online fundraising pages to fundraise on behalf of MD Anderson. You don’t have to be in Houston on event day to participate. You can register as a virtual walker to have an online fundraising page and still join us in giving cancer the boot!
- Fundraise to End Cancer by creating an online fundraising page. Whether you dedicate your birthday, are fundraising in memory of a loved one, taking on a challenge with co-workers or friends, or have a creative idea, you can help MD Anderson end cancer by asking friends and family to make donations on their behalf. MD Anderson materials provided through the online website are the only materials that may be used to promote your fundraiser.
However you decide to fundraise, you will be an important part of the institution’s philanthropy and create hope for a world without cancer.
Whether designing computer systems as a management consultant in the oil-and-gas industry or earning an MBA at Rice University, Charlotte Jones is used to setting ambitious goals for herself. In pre-pandemic days, you might have had to go hiking in Patagonia to find the retiree, avid traveler and three-time cancer survivor.
The Charlotte H. Jones Memorial Fund, which will be established through an IRA bequest, will provide funding to further genetic and related research at MD Anderson. This planned gift follows the Houston resident’s long history of supporting our Annual Fund.
While Charlotte understands the suffering caused by cancer, she lives her life with a positive outlook.
It’s easy for her to discuss her motivation to leave a generous legacy to MD Anderson. “I’ve been a patient since the early 1980s. I feel a little like I’m cheating because I’ve never had chemotherapy or radiation,” Jones says, recounting three separate cancer diagnoses. “They’ve always caught everything very early.”
Facing multiple cancer diagnoses
At age 25, Charlotte had thyroid cancer. She was cured with surgery and drinking radioactive iodine. Next, what she thought was a fibroid in 2005 turned out to be a rare type of gynecologic cancer, endometrial stromal sarcoma. “The tumor feeds off estrogen, so after a hysterectomy, I just had to take a pill that keeps estrogen out of my system,” she says.
Her one regret is that her late husband did not come to MD Anderson for treatment. He died of lung cancer in 2013.
That same year, Charlotte also had breast cancer and opted for a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She underwent genetic investigations to see if a genetic explanation could be found for her having several types of cancer.
“That’s part of what got me interested in leaving a legacy that might support genetic research,” she notes.
Taking each day as it comes
Charlotte was unfazed by an endometrial sarcoma recurrence in 2019. She started the estrogen inhibitor again. “I’ll take it for life, which I can totally live with,” she says. “I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to go to MD Anderson, which has the best research. To be able to give a little something back and help fund that research is very important to me.”
Noting her multiple diagnoses, she says, “It would be easy to give up, but I could sit around and mope and then get hit by a truck tomorrow — and I would have spent today worrying about the cancer!”
Charlotte adds, “I try to not let cancer define me. I’d rather be defined by singing in a choir,” which she does for her Houston church. She plays golf, attends theater and opera, and works out. She believes that lifting weights helped keep her from losing bone density due to hormone therapy. She plans to resume hiking in Latin America and beyond when the pandemic subsides.
It all boils down to her own words of wisdom: “Don’t let a diagnosis of cancer eliminate your hope.”
Leaving a legacy
Qualified retirement plans, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), represent a major portion of the average person’s estate. Due to special tax considerations, they make an excellent choice for funding a testamentary charitable gift.
Individuals like Charlotte may make bequests of retirement plans to:
- make a significant charitable bequest while continuing to take withdrawals during their lifetime.
- avoid income and estate tax possibly levied on their retirement account, and/or
- give their most-taxed asset to MD Anderson while leaving more favorably taxed property to heirs.
During your lifetime, you designate MD
Anderson as beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), pension or
other tax-deferred plan. This is done by simply completing a
beneficiary designation form provided by your plan administrator. Your
gift may be designated to a specific program or
area of research at
Contact MD Anderson's Trusts, Estate and Gift Planning team online or by calling 1-866-928-9494.
Writing MD Anderson into our wills was an easy decision for my late wife, Jackie, and me. Because even after she received a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis, MD Anderson’s clinical trials program gave us four extra years to spend together. And its wonderful doctors continue to save people’s lives.
I’ve followed U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” rankings for years. So, I knew MD Anderson was No. 1 in cancer treatment. That’s why I made up my mind early on that if anyone in my family ever got cancer, we’d travel to Houston from our home in Bluffton, South Carolina.
But Jackie and I soon discovered more reasons to support MD Anderson’s mission. Over time, we developed some really close relationships with Dr. Vivek Subbiah, his nurse practitioner Anna Poullard, and many other members of their staff. And every month, when we went in for Jackie’s checkups, it became less like going to a cancer hospital and more like going to visit old friends.
At MD Anderson, Dr. George Blumenschein told us about a clinical trial that targeted the exact genetic alteration (RET fusion) Jackie had. That surprised us, because only about 1% to 2% of all lung cancer patients have it. But under Dr. Subbiah’s care, all of the tumors in Jackie’s lungs and brain either shrank or stayed the same. They never got any bigger.
As a result, Jackie was able to resume many of the activities she’d previously enjoyed, such as painting, playing mahjong, and teaching our dogs tricks. She was still doing fantastically when she died of causes unrelated to her cancer in July 2020.
Jackie and I updated our wills several years ago to make gifts through our estate to MD Anderson, because we wanted its researchers to be able to continue doing their valuable work. But after Jackie’s passing, I discussed with their Development team ways I might give something now as well. While MD Anderson is still included in my will, I also made a separate donation this year to fund Dr. Subbiah’s research projects for years to come — and to honor my late wife’s memory in the process.