Since 1999, Cattlemen for Cancer Research, a coalition of volunteers, organizations and businesses in Central Texas, has made it its mission to carry out the fight against cancer. Combining their passions for ranching and community, its members have raised more than $1.7 million to fund programs at MD Anderson's Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research near Bastrop.
When wildfires threatened Bastrop County in October 2015, they banded together to ensure their neighbors, livestock and property were safe from harm. By a stroke of luck, the smoke cleared in time for the organization's 17th annual fundraiser on Oct. 17.
More than 500 central Texas residents gathered at the Hills Prairie Livestock Auction company for a picnic lunch, a silent auction, children's activities and a live cattle auction. All event proceeds - more than $132,000 - will advance research initiatives and programs at the Keeling Center, which provides comparative research in animal models to aid in understanding and preventing cancer.
"The Keeling Center is pleased with the tremendous support we continue to receive from Cattlement for Cancer Research and our local community," says Christian Abee, D.V.M., M.S., director. "The funds are crucial in supporting our mission of Making Cancer History®, as well as providing assistance to cancer patients in Central Texas."
Cheryl Martin, advanced practice registered nurse, Neurosurgery, received Cattlemen for Cancer Research's sixth annual Hero Award, which recognizes an MD Anderson clinician or researcher for outstanding contributions in patient care. Martin's earnest compassion and commitment to patients exemplify the spirit of the Hero Award.
Shannon Mayo, a three-time survivor who first came to MD Anderson at age 10, received the organization's Cancer Survivor Award for her bravery and determination in her fight against cancer during three separate occurrences.
Wildfires consumed more than 34,000 acres in Bastrop County this past October. The Keeling Center was minimally affected by the blaze. The thoughts and concerns of MD Anderson's staff and leadership remain with the residents of Central Texas.