Houston-area residents are celebrating the dedication of a new cancer and medical clinic; patients will soon celebrate its opening on Oct. 1. It will help hundreds of thousands of people who cannot afford health care.
Outpatients from Ben Taub General Hospital are expected to get the best possible care there. It will fall under the Harris Health System, known previously as the Harris County Hospital District. It is all thanks to the generosity of a local couple who donated millions of dollars to make sure that anyone can get high-quality medical care.
Because Lester and Sue Smith are so giving, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Houston wanted to honor them with a special surprise at the dedication.
"It's a beautiful five-story building of steel and glass, but what this really is a building where people come to be cured and a place where people come for compassionate care and hope," says Lester Smith. It will offer state-of-the art care for cancer, plus offer many other specialties, including: Allergy, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Genetics, Hematology, Infectious Disease, Infusion Center, Nephrology, Neurology, and Pulmonary.
The technology is as advanced as it gets, including Imaging and Radiation Therapy, 3 digital radiography units, 2 digital RAD/Flyoroscopy Units, 5 ultrasound units, 3 CT Scanners, 2 MRI units, a PET Scan, and 3 Linear accelerators.
Lester tells FOX 26 News that the Breast Facility is staffed with doctors from Baylor College of Medicine.
"It's really sad to think that some women have breast cancer and have to wait for care and then they can't be saved, so now we have a state of the art facility here that is amazing so everyone has a chance at hope," says Sue Smith.
At least 160,000 patients are expected to get help there annually. Because of the Smith's dedication to help women fight breast cancer, the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure Houston commissioned local artist Hahn Tran to create a surprise for them.
She really believes in their cause.
"Everybody needs a home to go to and has the right to be treated and get help, so this is a great facility to go to and get help with open arms," says Hahn.
Hahn is known for the texture of her paintings. The people, she helps through art, will tell you about her big heart. She takes paints and an empty canvas to them.
"I think that for a lot of cancer patients, they're in a dark metallic mode. Their body aches, nothing is right for them, they don't feel pretty, they don't feel right but to throw colors into the mix and an object they always wanted to do, makes them happy. It makes it in a different light for them, so they forget the dreary dark ideas they're having and experience they're going through and that there are better days coming. I think art helps them!" exclaims Hahn.
The Houston-area Susan G. Komen chapter wanted her to paint a special seven foot pink ribbon for the Smith's, which symbolizes breast cancer. Hahn painted symbols on it, to represent the Smiths. She did extensive research about the Smiths and quickly learned, they love Texas!
"Texas flag, the yellow rose of Texas, and Susan loves the color red leopard, so I painted that on her dress on the pink ribbon," said Hahn. She goes on to say, "They've done so much for the community - it's Susan G Komen's way of giving back to them.
Hahn says she was thrilled to be there, when the Executive Director of Houston Komen announced the gift, which will be displayed in the Breast Center.
"To honor Lester and Sue Smith with this beautiful symbol of both courage and commitment. Dedicated for your leadership, generosity, and your tremendous loyalty. To those in our community who are often overlooked or forgotten, the Houston affiliate would like to thank you for your annual support of Komen's race for the cure and most recently the Pink Wall Challenge, which helps shine the light on hundreds of organizations finding cancer, both large and small throughout the country. Thank you for your continued partnership, throughout the years in our promise to save lives," says Dr. Adriana Higgins.
"How thoughtful of Komen! The women who want to give us something which is really cool and it's a symbol of what we're all working for. It was very thoughtful, we really like it," exclaims Sue Smith. This big project sparked Hahn to come up with "wearable art" to help raise awareness about breast cancer. Her handbags sport a pink ribbon.