Coming full circle
Editor's note: After our print edition went to press, we learned with great sadness of J.P. Schroeder's passing. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends, who continue their support of cancer research.
Sitting just a few blocks from MD Anderson in the apartment they temporarily call home, Glynda and J.P. Schroeder share the ironic story of how their most recent battle with cancer has come full circle. Glynda, a 20-year breast cancer survivor, snuggles next to her husband on a sofa as he explains.
“I had a cough that kept getting worse, but I didn’t hurt anywhere,” J.P. says. “A biopsy determined I had small cell lung cancer. We immediately called MD Anderson.”
Years earlier she and her husband became co-founding members of the Cattlemen for Cancer Research (CCR), an organization that provides funding for research at MD Anderson’s Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research in Bastrop, Texas. The Schroeders, natives of Elgin, Texas, never imagined how someday that commitment would touch their own lives.
“Dr. Michale Keeling was a friend of ours. In 1998, he asked us to help start a cattle auction to fund his cancer research,” Glynda says.
CCR had its first auction in 1999. To date, the grass-roots organization has raised more than $1.3 million.
“It’s ironic how we’ve come full circle,” Glynda says. “We’ve supported MD Anderson for so many years through CCR, and now J.P.’s benefiting from it as a patient.”
CCR beneficiary: Mike Jaggers
Mike Jaggers was checking his retirement list. Career completed? Check. Financial security? Check. Dream home? Check. One item not on his list was cancer. After 33 years in the software industry, Jaggers and his wife bought a ranch near Austin, Texas, and began living their dream of raising cattle. Soon they joined the Cattlemen for Cancer Research, which supports MD Anderson. When an annual physical revealed acute myelogenous leukemia, Jaggers knew his best chance for beating it was at MD Anderson. After successful treatment, comprised of chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant, he leads a full life — fishing, hiking and enjoying his grandchildren. “Get regular checkups,” he says. “And if cancer is found, get to MD Anderson as fast as possible.”
Easing the burden and honoring compassion
In addition to providing funding for cancer research at the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Cattlemen for Cancer Research (CCR) offers financial support for patients from central Texas. The fundraiser has also created a special way to recognize the compassionate care given to MD Anderson patients during treatment.
“Each year, 20% of the funds raised by the CCR are designated for the Patient Assistance Program,” says Glynda Schroeder, who serves as chair of the program. “Patients from Bastrop, Hays, Lee, Travis and Williamson counties are eligible.”The program provides patients financial assistance with lodging, meals and similar services.
In 2010, CCR announced the debut of the Hero Award. This annual award honors an MD Anderson clinician or scientist for outstanding contributions to the care of patients from central Texas.
“I learned a long time ago from my parents to treat others as you want to be treated,” says Monica Campbell, a radiation oncology nurse and winner of the 2012 Hero Award. “So, all my patients are VIPs.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- First auction held in 1999 raised $38,000
- 14th annual event in October 2012 raised $105,000
- $1.4 million raised since 1999