After 25 years, the Musselman family is still opening their hearts - and the gates to their ranch in Albany, Texas - to Polo on the Prairie, an annual celebration of MD Anderson, the research accomplished in its quest to conquer cancer and the thousands of patients the institution has treated during its 70 years.
What began as a passion for MD Anderson Board of Visitors member Mary Anne McCloud, the event is now a longstanding fundraiser for the institution, raising almost $4 million for patient care, research, prevention and education initiatives. Co-chairs Melinda and Henry Musselman make it clear that Polo on the Prairie is a family commitment that means to give people hope when they need it.
The $315,000 raised at the 2011 Polo on the Prairie will help fund several key areas at MD Anderson, including:
- the Anderson Network Hospitality Centers
- Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Education
- Patient Advocacy
- the Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center, Science Park - Research Division
In addition, a portion of proceeds will support the Anne and John Mendelsohn Personalized Cancer Therapy Fund, established to honor MD Anderson's third president and his wife.
Volunteers for the weekend were visible everywhere, from the registrars at the check-in table to the Boy Scouts in the parking area to the polo players, who donated their time and horses. A little West Texas dust went home with the 1,300 in attendance, along with a kaleidoscope of impressions: horse hooves flying, friends gathering, delicious meals (loved that peach cobbler!), toe-tappin' to Pat Green and his band, putting a cowboy hat over your heart during The Star Spangled Banner and the memory of feeling so proud to be associated with MD Anderson.