Supporting Others After Diagnosis
Mrs. Baylor began volunteering at UT Southwestern in November 2003 after her first experience with cancer. She still volunteers today in the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and at the Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth. Mrs. Baylor is part of the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, which has been helping people cope with breast cancer for more than 45 years.
At the onset of diagnosis, Mrs. Baylor is there to speak with patients about what they can expect and to give them encouragement and emotional support. As a survivor, she can provide a perspective that many cannot. As a two-time survivor, Mrs. Baylor has an extraordinary tale of persistence that inspires others.
I walk into the same rooms I walked into in 2001 when I found out I had cancer. And I know that look. I had that look.
Mrs. Baylor understands the value of this holistic approach to care. “They’re afraid,” she said. “And when you can hug someone and let them know they’re going to be okay – that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
And, her influence extends to the families of patients. Mr. Baylor adds, “When you’re able to communicate with the other family members, you can impart to them information that helps the patient, too.”
Inspired to Give Back
Before his retirement, Mr. Baylor was a CPA working with many clients over the years who were planning their charitable legacies. He was inspired by the generosity he saw.
I’m very fortunate that I interacted with a lot of clients who were philanthropic. I think that above all, Marsha and I both feel a responsibility to give back.
When Mr. Baylor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, he knew very little about the disease. For three years, he went through peaks and valleys of remission and recurrence. In 2014, his doctor recommended a stem cell transplant for treatment. It was during that treatment that Mr. Baylor experienced something he will never forget.
From One Patient to Another
In the same treatment room with Mr. Baylor was another patient who was from Central Texas and had to travel to Dallas for treatment. The other patient was in a great deal of pain, and the medical team around him did everything possible to keep him comfortable. After both completed treatment, Mr. and Mrs. Baylor were waiting for their car and began a conversation with the other patient’s father, who was with him for support.
The patient’s father explained that his son would have to wait several more months for the second part of his treatment, because his son was a single parent and needed to head home to be with his children until the school semester ended.
“It really opened my eyes to what this journey is like for families who don’t have the same support network I have,” said Mr. Baylor. “I could go home and rest. He had to go home and be Dad.”
The Baylors, who are a warm, humble, and generous pair, hope that their planned gifts will one day change the story for patients like the young man who shared Mr. Baylor’s hospital room. Benefitting medical research at UT Southwestern, their donations could one day support discovery of better treatments and better outcomes for everyone.
Marsha and Michael Baylor have been tremendously dedicated donors and volunteers furthering needed work in cancer research and patient care for many years. It is truly heartwarming to see the many lives they directly touch and inspire through their philanthropic giving and Marsha’s work as a Reach to Recovery volunteer.
Kathleen M. Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation
The Baylors have supported Southwestern Medical Foundation since 2005, making contributions to the George N. Peters, M.D. Center for Breast Surgery, the Beth F. Kahn Roots and Wings Fund for Brain Cancer Research, and the Fund for Transplant Services. They also established the Marsha H. and Michael R. Baylor Fund in 2015 in support of cancer research at UT Southwestern.
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