Hope and Healing for Children With Cancer

Don and Sidney Faust

Don and Sidney Faust

Sometimes, one moment in time really does change a life forever. For Don and Sidney Faust, that moment came during the 1998 Cancer League of Houston luncheon when they were introduced to some of the youngest patients of Texas Children's Cancer Center. Meeting the brave, compelling children brought the Fausts to the realization that they wanted to make a difference to those with pediatric cancer.

"Don Faust sat beside me at the Cancer League luncheon and both of us were deeply moved by these children," remembered Scott Basinger, Ph.D., associate dean for Extramural Affairs at Baylor College of Medicine. A longtime friend of the Fausts, Basinger had introduced them to Texas Children's Cancer Center.

"Don looked right at me and said, 'I'd like to do something for these kids.' Since that day, Don and Sidney's commitment has been one of the most beautiful stories in philanthropy that I've ever experienced," Basinger added.

Over the past decade, the Fausts' dedication to Texas Children's has inspired all who have met them.They have demonstrated their unwavering devotion by making a $5 million gift commitment through their estate plans to Texas Children's Hospital in support of the Cancer Center. "Don and Sidney's love and compassion for our patients and their families is absolutely extraordinary," said David G. Poplack, M.D., director of Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service. "Their incredibly generous gift will help maintain the financial stability of the Cancer Center in perpetuity. It will allow us to continue to deliver state-of-the-art care to children with cancer and blood diseases."

"Hopefully, our fund will offer a brighter future for all children diagnosed with cancer, and we trust the fund will continue to grow," said Don. "It also will provide others wanting to help in this cause an opportunity to contribute."

The Fausts' gift is one of many ways they have touched the hearts of the hospital's children and families.Their partnership with the Cancer Center began in 1998 at their Squirrel Creek Ranch near Hondo, Texas, where they began hosting family retreats as a way to make a difference in the lives of children impacted by cancer. Over the years, the Fausts have held 34 retreats, giving young cancer patients and their families a chance to leave their worries behind and just have fun together. Plans have already been made for five retreats this year.

The healing power of these weekends probably was best expressed by a parent in a retreat evaluation who said, "Our experience with cancer was long, but it was erased in minutes with all the love that flowed from Squirrel Creek Ranch." Sidney said, "Our experiences with the Squirrel Creek Ranch cancer retreats have made us aware of how families are affected when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer and endures the treatment that follows." Through the Fausts' years of generosity, they have become an integral part of the team atTexas Children's Hospital. "You should see what it's like when the Fausts visit the Cancer Center," said Dr. Poplack. "Staff and families greet them as if they are family members, which in a sense, they are."

According to Sidney, their gift and the ongoing retreat weekends are just the start. "We plan to stay involved as long as we physically can.We are dedicated to helping Texas Children's Cancer Center."

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