By: Dorothy Gibbons, CEO & Co-Founder of The Rose
Fighting Houston’s traffic is challenging, at best. Traveling through it for nearly two hours to have lunch is ridiculous. Still, on Monday, there I was driving down a very congested I-10, headed to Brookshire, Texas.
My colleague, Jana, invited our board member, Bob Tenczar, and wife Nancy, and me to visit the Brookwood Community. Our mobile coach was at their campus, providing screening to Brookwood Citizens.
Brookwood is a nonprofit residential and vocational community for adults with disabilities that started around the same time as The Rose. It was created by Yvonne Streit, who knew there had to be a better life for disabled adults. At only a year old, her daughter, Vicki, had suffered a bout of mumps which led to meningitis and resulted in severe brain damage.
In 1983, there weren’t many programs for disabled children and none for adults. So, Yvonne founded Brookwood. Today over 100 Residential Citizens live on its 485-acre campus, and another 130 Day Citizens commute daily to work on the campus.
The Brookwood Community is a favorite of mine. It was started because of a need and has stayed mission-focused, just like The Rose. Having our mobile coach there to serve their Citizens means so much to them.
Normally, I love to visit Brookwood and go to their gift shop, filled with beautiful items made by their Citizens, or buy a plant grown by the Citizens in one of their 48 greenhouses. But today, I had a thousand reasons why I needed to stay in the office and catch up. I was so far behind at work. I had dozens of emails waiting for answers and just as many reports to prepare. I grumbled to myself. I debated whether to go or not to go.
But I went anyway.
That’s when the miracle happened.
Just after we entered their Café, Jana said, “Oh Good!” and directed us to a young woman standing behind the hostess counter. She said: “Veronica, remember when I said someday I would introduce you to the co-Founder of The Rose?”
Veronica’s beautiful eyes widened, and I could see a big smile forming under her mask. Then she stepped out and started hugging me. We laughed, we cried. She kept saying “thank you” while hugging me, her arms locked tightly around me.
A few years ago, Jana had told me about Veronica, an employee at Brookwood, and how The Rose had helped her. What a surprise to get to meet her!
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen or felt such gratefulness. Suddenly the thoughts of all I had to do back at the office disappeared, and I was reminded that I was exactly where I needed to be. As I drove back (the trip didn’t seem so long after all), I kept thinking about meeting Veronica. My heart was full. I was so grateful that The Rose Family could give her a happy ending.
That’s when it dawned on me that August 1st was the day Dixie and I started The Rose back in 1986. Like Yvonne, we were convinced there had to be a better way. We had a dream that we never let go of. Veronica and women like her were the reasons why.
There was not a better present that I could have received on our 36th birthday than meeting Veronica. I wanted to share it with you.
Happy Birthday to us.
To schedule a media interview with any member of our board, please contact Lis Harper at 281-846-5976 or email email@example.com. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, please visit www.therose.org.
About The Rose
Since 1986, The Rose has provided high quality breast healthcare to all women, regardless of their ability to pay. Its mission is to save lives through quality breast health services, advocacy and access to care for all. As a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, The Rose is led by Fellowship trained physicians and offers advanced digital technology including 3-D tomosynthesis mammography, diagnostic workups, biopsies and its nationally recognized Patient Navigation Program ensures access to treatment and a continuum of care for all women. As a major part of Southeast Texas’ Healthcare Safety Net, The Rose is a strong advocate for quality breast healthcare and access to care. The Rose provides direct medical services to 40,000 insured and uninsured patients annually. Two Houston-based comprehensive Diagnostic Centers and Mobile Mammography Coaches provide services to women throughout 43 counties in Southeast Texas.