Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Detroit but moved to Spring, Texas, early in my childhood. I graduated from Texas A&M University and then headed back up north to attend Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. After graduate school, I moved back to Houston and started working at Simmons & Company International (now part of Piper Jaffray & Co.), an energy investment banking firm. Moving back to Houston has been a blessing, as I'm in the same city as my family and it's the place I met my wonderful wife, who shares many of my passions. I love hunting, adventure traveling and any activity that can be used as a challenge.
How did you first hear about MD Anderson?
I knew about MD Anderson early on. Several family friends were treated there. I always knew it to be the place you go when things are really bad. I'd always heard it was the best place to go for cancer treatment. But that really didn't sink in until I was the one who needed help.
I had just turned 30 and still pretty much thought I was invincible. Then I was diagnosed with melanoma. I was like a deer caught in the headlights. I didn't know what to do.
I ended up going to my boss to talk to him about my diagnosis. I knew he would understand my anxiety and fear. He took me by the arm and said, "We're going to take care of this." A few days later I was at MD Anderson.
What do you remember most about your experience as a patient at MD Anderson?
The compassion and professionalism of the doctors and staff are unparalleled.
Before I could even ask my doctor questions, she spouted the exact answers I needed to hear. I was blown away by the integrity and kindness of everyone I met during my treatment. I'm proud to say that I'm doing well. As a cancer survivor, I know it's my turn to spread the word about MD Anderson and its world-class patient care programs and prevention initiatives.
You chaired the Advance Team's Boot Walk to End Cancer™ team as part of the recent 75th anniversary celebrations. What was it like to be a part of this historic event?
The first word that jumps to my mind is "humbling." It was extremely humbling to take part in MD Anderson's 75th Anniversary. I realized just how big MD Anderson is and how many lives this place impacts. At the Boot Walk, every person had a story to tell, whether they were fighting cancer or representing a loved one. It was amazing to see that much support for a mission that is near and dear to my heart.
What message do you have for patients at MD Anderson?
To the patients: You are exactly where you need to be. To the donors: The story of every patient is inspiring, and MD Anderson enables thousands of these stories every year.