Regardless of our political leanings, one thing we can all get behind is philanthropy — especially when the cause is eradicating cancer. For its 24th annual A Conversation With a Living Legend, MD Anderson Cancer Center honored George W. Bush with its Making Cancer History Award, given to those who truly make a difference in the lives of others by demonstrating the institution's core values of caring, integrity and discovery.
More than 1,000 supporters gathered at the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole to listen to the question-and-answer session with the former president. Doling out the questions was interviewer Tom Johnson, former CEO of CNN News Group. Showing their support that day were former Living Legends Nolan Ryan, Laura Bush and T. Boone Pickens, who joined fellow philanthropists Susie and Leo Corrigan, Deborah and Jack Gunter, Lana and Barry Andrews, Betty and Wade Nowlin,
Guests were treated to musical performances by Steve Amerson and the Steve Bayless Orchestra as they lunched. MD Anderson Ronald DePinho reminded attendees that their generosity helped fund the cancer center's Moon Shots Progam, a comprehensive assault on cancer launched in September 2012. Moon Shot teams of clinicians and researchers are initially focusing on eight cancers: acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndromes, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers.
Thanks to a surprise gift of $60,000 from Annette Simmons, the Living Legend committee met its fundraising goal. All told the afternoon raised $1.2 million, and, to date, the Dallas Living Legend series has raised $13.4 million for one of the world's leading cancer research centers.