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TSSA Reaches $1 Million Mark Raised for Shriners Hospitals for Children

Feb 07, 2017

TSSA group with check 2017-Use Only if Room
As a member, you’ve probably noticed stories about the fundraising that takes place at TSSA’s annual conference. TSSA members pool their efforts and resources to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children—Galveston, a renowned facility dedicated to treating children who have experienced burns, at no cost to their families.

This year, on January 30, a crowd of 35 members and hospital representatives congregated in the hospital’s vestibule to recognize a feat few organizations achieve—hitting the $1 million mark in total funds raised. Our two members most responsible for hitting that incredible mark are brothers Doug and David Hunt, fundraising co-chairs and volunteers extraordinaire.

David accepted the hospital’s coveted Philanthropic Society recognition, and tour attendees witnessed the unveiling of the inscription of TSSA onto the hospital’s “Gold Wall,” reserved for organizations and individuals highly dedicated to the cause.

Several, including Bill Bellomy, Ted Culbreth, David and Trena Hunt, Ann Parham and TSSA’s Ginny Sutton, have attended the tour more than once and continue to be moved and inspired by what they see and hear. First-time attendees Lonnie and Jacci Bickford, Bill and Beverly Brownfield, Molly Cavender, Victor Givens, Zach Ionadi, Michael Johnson and Marc Vandusen learned about the treatment of children, both body and mind, as well as its cutting-edge research.

In these tours, there are moments that brim with emotion—when viewing the donated tissue used for so-necessary skin grafts, which is also fascinating. Parham talked to the group about her family’s emotion-laden decision to donate the organs and tissues of her husband, Mike, who passed away unexpectedly in November 2015. “It was difficult on one hand,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “On the other hand, it was an easy decision. That was the kind of person Mike was—someone who wanted to give to others.”

And though also emotional, no moments were more hopeful than encounters with the patients themselves and their families. Kids waived cheerfully on their way to out-patient therapy, and parents beamed with gratitude as they noticed our tour. An especially poignant moment occurred when two little girls, who had clearly been patients, handed off a piece of art they created to a hospital staffer standing in the lobby. The art reflected joy, and not the pain you might think a hospital stay would evoke.

Members can donate at any time during the year or participate at the conference on October 18-20. Facilities can also participate in the “Make a Difference” campaign at any time. Contact TSSA for more information. For now, the Hunt brothers say it’s time to start working on the next million!