How it works
For a single donation, MD Anderson's Development Office personalizes and mails holiday cards to donors' friends, family and business associates. Holiday Giving Program supporters have the option to provide MD Anderson with a mailing list of the people they'd like to honor, an a card is sent to each honoree by MD Anderson. Or, MD Anderson will send the cards directly to the donor so that he or she may mail the cards with a personal greeting. Two new card designs are available for the 2015 holiday season. Each card was designed for the program by a patient at MD Anderson's Children's Cancer Hospital.
Nancy Glanville Jewell, of Houston, has supported the Holiday Giving Program for the past 24 years, practically since the program first started. She says the cards have become an integral part of her family's traditions.
"As a young family, we always shared traditional, tangible gifts with our friends," says Jewell. "As we grew older, we realized that what was most important to us was to share something that would benefit not just our friends, but their families as well. Supporting the Holiday Giving Program allows us to honor our friends with a donation to an incredible institution while sharing a bigger message and raising awareness of the work being done to stop this disease."
Since 1991, Gayla and George Chapman, of Dallas, have used the Holiday Giving Program during the Christmas season to honor family and friends, and to support MD Anderson. "What I've always appreciated about MD Anderson is the love, the caring and the comfort that everyone has exhibited to me and others during my time there in addition to the extremely high level of medical competency," says Gayla.
"There are many charities that have similar kinds of holiday card programs, but none has the reputation of MD Anderson," says George. "When we send the cards, people know we have the utmost confidence in the top cancer center in the world. No one asks why we chose MD Anderson."
Through funding provided by the Holiday Giving Program in 2014, MD Anderson's Children's Cancer Hospital was able to purchase two VGo robots, which patients have nicknamed Taylor and Travis. Patients in isolation or those too sick to venture out of their rooms control the robots to represent themselves at events, off-campus trips and their schools back home. A camera attached to the robot allows the children to video-conference in to the desired activity.
"Donors who support the Holiday Giving Program are really changing lives," says Wykesha Hayes, pediatric school coordinator at the Children's Cancer Hospital. "They're giving us an opportunity to keep our patients feeling connected and normal. Education is such an integral part of life, and these technologies are helping us maintain that normality. We're forever grateful."