Honoring Mary & Wayne Poindexter and a lasting legacy for cancer care

When the late Mary Poindexter of Tyler began care for her pancreatic cancer through the physicians of the ETMC Cancer Institute, the result proved momentous, generating hope for Mary and her husband, Wayne, as well as countless cancer patients to come.

The Poindexters had become disillusioned with the care Mary was receiving at another cancer treatment hospital in Texas.  Therefore, they were pleased when Dr. Arielle Lee, Tyler specialist in medical oncology, provided a new evaluation and implemented an aggressive treatment plan.  In the months that followed, Dr. Lee supervised chemotherapy, which was followed by radiation therapy at the ETMC Cancer Institute in Tyler through Dr. James Kolker, radiation oncologist.  Both the physicians and the Poindexters were pleased, as Mary's condition improved.

Mary and Wayne decided that they could best honor Drs. Lee and Kolker and support ETMC's ongoing advancement of cancer services through a plan of giving to the ETMC Foundation and ETMC Cancer Institute.  Therefore, the Poindexter Patient Care Fund was established in 2005 to assist cancer patients with financial hardships so that they may follow their treatment plan, especially regarding palliative care.

This charitable funding was only the beginning, however, as the Poindexters listened to ETMC's dreams for the Cancer Institute and those it serves.  They elected to support the construction of the new 6-North patient care unit for cancer patients through an initial gift and a later estate gift, representing a contribution of $5 million.

"We wanted to use our funds in some manner that would be greatly beneficial and truly help people at the individual level," said Wayne Poindexter.  "After what Mary went through, we saw how many people are affected by cancer.  It was our desire to do something here at ETMC that would help cancer patients in our home community."

After her brave battle with cancer, Mary ultimately lost her life to other medical causes in 2007.  However, her kindness and legacy continue through the new Mary and Wayne Poindexter Patient Care Unit, as it opens in January 2010.

"The Poindexters truly exemplified the spirit of philanthropy, as they selected projects that will make a difference in the lives of so many patients and families in the years ahead," noted Elmer G. Ellis, president/CEO of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System.  "We are grateful for this tremendous giving to ETMC's mission of saving lives and improving the quality of life for cancer patients.  This support is a blessing now and a lasting legacy for countless people, as well as our organization."