Julie and Ben Rogers: A Legacy of Love
Regina Rogers’ middle name must surely be Love.
The Beaumont, Texas-based philanthropist, lawyer and community activist embodies the word, from the hugs she dispenses with every hello to the hands-on programs she oversees for the benefit of thousands each year.
Rogers contributes her time to numerous nonprofit advisory boards, including the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, of which she’s a senior member. Her spirit of volunteerism spans health care, sports, hurricane and disaster relief, education, rehabilitation and more.
Among the endeavors she helped establish is the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program, a cancer prevention and awareness initiative that was started in 1994 in honor of her mother, a breast cancer survivor.
The organization, which has saved hundreds of lives by providing extensive education and breast and prostate cancer screenings, as well as access to treatment, for medically underserved people in seven southeast Texas counties, reaches approximately 20,000 of them annually.
Award recognizes outstanding employees
In 1987, Regina Rogers established an endowment to fund the Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence at MD Anderson.
The award honors her father, Ben Rogers, a business and civic leader who served on the Board of Visitors from 1978 until his death in 1994, and her mother, Julie, a breast cancer survivor who died in 1998. The award also commemorates Rogers’ appreciation for the care her brother and mother received at the institution, in 1960 for thyroid cancer and in 1987 for breast cancer, respectively.
Each year, the award recognizes an outstanding MD Anderson employee and rotates among the areas of research, patient care, education, prevention and administration. The endowment provides $10,000 for each year’s winner and recognizes the achievement of four finalists at $250 each.
To date, 26 men and women have received the prestigious honor; 2011 marked the 25th anniversary of the award, to Lorna McNeill, Ph.D., for excellence in prevention. Pam Redden received the 2012 award for administration.
At each award presentation ceremony, Rogers reflects on her longstanding esteem for the institution.
“I am continually inspired by the dedication, excellence and integrity of everyone at MD Anderson,” Rogers says. “I consider them an extension of my family, so it seems fitting to perpetuate this award and convey appreciation for the love my parents expressed through their constant concern for others.”