Ten years after the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research was established, former President George H. W. Bush offers perspective on the endowment, the research it funds and the patients it ultimately serves.
What does it mean to know that a fund bearing your name will last in perpetuity, making a difference for those dealing with the challenges of cancer?
It’s hard to explain, really. It’s a wonderful honor. Barbara and I have had a lot of things named for us — everything from an airport to sandwiches. But this fund ranks at the top.
What are your hopes for the Bush Endowment?
We hope what everyone involved with cancer hopes, that the fund will allow researchers and doctors to bring us closer and closer to — if not curing cancer — then making it a disease we can live with.
Why do you commit your time to MD Anderson, and how do you find the time?
It’s been an honor for Barbara and me to be associated with the best cancer center in the world. It was our personal connection to cancer that first drew us to MD Anderson years ago, but as we learned more about it, we realized it truly is the disease people fear most. So finding the time was easy. Besides, we don’t do any real work. We are just sort of cheerleaders.
What would you say to the patients who have benefited from the discoveries you’ve helped make possible through the Bush Endowment?
I would say they are very, very lucky to have walked through the doors of MD Anderson. It is a place of miracles, and we are just happy to play a tiny role.