On Jan. 30, 2018, a notable blow was struck against cancer when William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, announced that the Mays Family Foundation was increasing its legacy gift supporting the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center to $30 million.
In recognition and appreciation of the Mays’ generosity, The University of Texas System Board of Regents authorized naming the cancer center as the Mays Cancer Center, Dr. Henrich said.
Lowry Mays, who died Monday (Sept. 12, 2022), and his late wife, Peggy, were longtime supporters of the Mays Cancer Center, which is San Antonio’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center and one of four in Texas. Peggy was the founder of the San Antonio Cancer Council Cabinet fund and Kathryn Mays Johnson, their daughter, is a past president of the SA Cancer Council, which supported the Mays Cancer Center in multiple ways for four decades.
“Lowry and Peggy Mays were the epitome of committed citizens to San Antonio, and they believed deeply in the missions of our Mays Cancer Center — to care for everyone and, through leading-edge research, to pledge our unrelenting effort to reduce the burden of cancer for generations to come,” Dr. Henrich said Tuesday at the SA Cancer Council’s Beacon of Hope luncheon. “When I asked Lowry about a naming gift for the center years ago, he offered his help without hesitation, and, in subsequent discussions, he expressed the pride he had that his name was associated with the center’s growth in scale and excellence. Lowry, Peggy and their family embraced the love that lies at the heart of giving. Their gift of generosity and love is a lasting treasure of incalculable value.”
The Mays family’s gifts to cancer care and research at UT Health San Antonio date back to the cancer center’s inception in 1974.
Ruben Mesa, MD, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center, said the support will improve patient care and studies of therapies to improve care.
“The Mays Cancer Center mourns the passing of Lowry Mays, a wonderful philanthropist and pillar of the San Antonio community,” Dr. Mesa said. “The transformational confidence and generous support of our mission against cancer by Lowry, Peggy and the entire Mays family is making a strong, favorable impact on cancer research and care for San Antonio and South Texas every day. We will strive to make the impact of the Mays Cancer Center in our community an enduring legacy to the heartfelt vision of Lowry and Peggy Mays.”
Contributions from the Mays Family Foundation have provided a substantial endowment to perpetually support the director of the Mays Cancer Center and to establish up to 10 new permanent distinguished endowed chairs to support key faculty recruitment and retention. In addition, the Mays Cancer Center Excellence Endowment supports top priorities for future success and long-term sustainability for generations to come.
“The overwhelming, major beneficiaries are patients who will seek and receive life-saving care here,” Dr. Henrich said.
At the 2018 President’s Gala of UT Health San Antonio, a record attendance of nearly 1,800 guests helped raise more than $500,000 to establish the Peggy and Lowry Mays Patient Care Endowment. The endowment supports the Patient Supportive Care Program at the Mays Cancer Center.
“We are so grateful to Lowry and Peggy and all they have done for our cancer center through the years,” Dr. Henrich said on that festive evening. “The Patient Supportive Care Program provides critical services for our cancer patients with the greatest financial needs. The endowment will also fund wellness and survivorship programs that help our patients lead healthier lives after they complete treatment. This program is vital to caring for our patients in the compassionate way we would want to be treated ourselves. They embody our mission to provide the very best in care to patients close to home.”
At the President’s Gala, Lowry Mays said, “Peggy and I are very excited about this honor. We are so happy to help this community in any way that we can.”