Photography by Wendy Bowman

SA Cancer Council Past President Liz Conklyn shares on the organization’s legacy, community, and impact:

We all know that cancer takes a dreadful physical and emotional toll on those who battle it. Cancer also takes an enormous financial toll for more than 3,500 new cancer patients and their families each year at the Mays Cancer Center. Dedicated members of the SA Cancer Council have been working hard for 35 years to ease this burden by raising money to pay for transportation, nutritional supplements, food, and so much more for patients. 

The Council sponsors three major fundraising activities each year.  First, the annual Spring Luncheon not only raises vital funds, but raises awareness and commitment from the community. Every story of someone’s cancer battle is unique and moving. Every research break-through is thrilling. Thousands of people over the years have been educated and inspired at these luncheons by wonderful speakers who have shared personal stories or described medical advances. 

Second, the Cure Cancer Card is a special effort that is a great example of the capacity of San Antonians to come together and support each other. It’s sponsored by hundreds of very generous San Antonio businesses and managed by dozens of volunteers of the SA Cancer Council. For ten days, these retailers, restaurants, service industry businesses and expert professionals offer a 20% discount on goods and services, just for purchasing a $50 card. Every one of those $50 goes directly to the Mays Cancer Center to support patient assistance and cancer research. 

Third, our Circles of Hope program allows a small group of people to pool their donations to support a new concept in cancer prevention, diagnosis or treatment. These are necessary first steps to launching larger investigations that can lead to life-saving interventions. The Mays Cancer Center is a great investment for people who want to change the story of cancer, with over 180 clinical trials open that are exploring new approaches to winning the battle against cancer.  The more we do, the more people can receive world-class care from our exceptional doctors right here in San Antonio, and not have to add distance and separation to the pain of undergoing treatment.  

Why do I support the Council? I have had far too many family members, friends, and colleagues who were attacked by cancer. Most survived, but some did not.  For every one of them, the journey was terrible. Today, I look at my grandchildren and think, this has to stop. I can’t discover new tests or new treatments, but I can do this.  

Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison. 
This feature was (Em)Powered by the SA Cancer Council.