Longview, Texas is a small town with a big heart. Just ask Jennifer Teague, a local volunteer with the tall task of rallying the community to support Texas Oncology Foundation events.
“In Longview, there are certainly the ‘community pillars’ who are able to give large amounts, but you also get a sense that there’s power in numbers,” said Jennifer, a mom of two who works in the marketing field. “Longview is very giving, very generous; there are a lot of fundraisers constantly going on, but people still continue to give and support en masse.”
After her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, Jennifer, who believes that everyone should volunteer in some capacity within their community, was drawn to supporting Texas Oncology Foundation. Due in large part to her strong organizational and leadership skills, Texas Oncology Foundation successfully hosted its first Family Fun Run in 2014, raising nearly $17,000 that went right back into supporting cancer patients in Longview. In 2015, Family Fun Run organizers expect to raise $40,000 benefitting Texas Oncology Foundation.
“It’s been my experience, having worked with other nonprofits, that supporters love to see how their contribution will directly impact their own community,” said Jennifer. “We all give and do and want to be a part of something good, but you get a really special, feel-good feeling when you can see your time or your money directly benefiting a family down the street. And that’s what you get with Texas Oncology Foundation.”
Other community activities that benefit Texas Oncology Foundation include events at local businesses, like Longview’s Painting with a Twist, where patrons can pay to create a painting, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Foundation. In the future, the volunteer committee is planning to engage local restaurants for “give-back nights,” as well as other events that target a range of demographics.
“I find it tremendously gratifying being a part of the great work the [Texas Oncology] Foundation is doing here in Longview,” said Jennifer. “It’s easy to feel like we’re in a society of entitlement, but volunteering is good for the community and good for yourself. And it teaches kids how to serve, which is such an important part of creating a bright future.”
Rio Grande Valley
From McAllen to Brownsville, the Rio Grande Valley has banded together to make a tremendous impact in the lives of cancer patients within this large, densely populated community. The annual Walk Run Ride event, organized by Texas Oncology–McAllen, provides funds that support Texas Oncology Foundation through race entry fees and sponsorships. In 2014, the community event raised approximately $45,000 for the Foundation, all of which went directly toward supporting cancer patients and their families in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas Oncology Foundation has supported Rio Grande Valley organizations that provide services to cancer patients, including Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, Comfort House Hospice Care and Aurora House, to name a few.
“When we considered benefiting the work of the [Texas Oncology] Foundation, we envisioned an event that would impact people across the spectrum of the cancer journey — not just patients, but caregivers, family, friends and neighbors,’” said Dr. Alvaro Restrepo, medical oncologist, Texas Oncology–McAllen. “It was rooted in the notion of bringing the community together for sharing, fellowship, education and awareness, and living a healthier life. It remains fundamentally that, and we’re thrilled with how McAllen and the surrounding areas have rallied together to raise support for such a dedicated organization.”
“People here – we give of what we have. We are very generous and family-oriented, and we want to be a part of the work of organizations like Texas Oncology Foundation,” said Anthony Sala, Practice Director, Texas Oncology-McAllen.
In March 2015, the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo, which plays hosts to more than 300,000 people a year, designated Texas Oncology Foundation as its beneficiary, raising approximately $25,000 for the Foundation through sponsorships and ticket and merchandise sales.
These funds will go toward ongoing patient and caregiver support groups, education efforts, patient financial assistance and local cancer-related support services. Funding raised in the Rio Grande Valley will stay in the area, in keeping with Texas Oncology Foundation’s mission of assisting patients in the communities where they live, work and heal.