Our Partners Make A Difference


Philanthropy Critical to Growth of UTMB Cancer Center

Private gifts from grateful patients and supportive organizations and agencies create research and patient care opportunities in the UTMB Cancer Center that might otherwise not be possible.

Irma and Jesse Mendoza

In late 2007, a Galveston couple who received care at UTMB contributed more than $500,000 to establish an endowed faculty position in the Department of Radiation Oncology. The Irma Labardini Mendoza and Jesse Jesus Mendoza Chair in Radiation Oncology is the second endowed chair and the first endowed faculty position created for the department. Sandra "Sunny" Hatch, M.D., Vice Chair of Radiation Oncology and Irma Mendoza's physician, is the first named recipient of the Mendoza Chair.

The gift will support the work of the appointed faculty member to advance radiation therapy to treat breast and gynecologic cancer patients. The Mendoza family plans to make additional contributions to the chair to increase its endowment to the $1 million distinguished chair level in coming years.

The generous Mendoza gift was created to honor the patient/physician relationship between Irma Mendoza and Dr. Hatch, who cared for her for nearly 10 years. Irma died on August 1, 2007. UTMB honored the Mendoza family at a reception in February 2008.

Dennis B. Koi & Lavenia LaGrone-Koi

The wife of another grateful patient, Dennis Koi, established a $15,000 endowment in Hematology/Oncology, where he received care for a number of years. This endowment is also expected to grow, with partial matching gifts from family members and friends of Mr. Koi. Proceeds from the Koi gift will be used to assist patients with medications and basic needs during treatment. A reception for friends, family and caregivers for Dennis Koi was hosted by UTMB in March 2008. The Sandy Shoes Fun Run was established in 2013 to continue to raise funds for the endowment.

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