Lisa Spain tells the story…
When Rexanna found out she had cancer we immediately focused on the positive and worked out “our” plan to beat this disease. Rexanna moved to Houston to live with Rex and I while she underwent treatment at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rexanna and I constantly reminded one another that God had a plan — we really just kept saying that — in reality we probably wondered some of the time what the heck the plan was — but we did remind ourselves of that constantly — I guess from the peace of saying it. After Rexanna passed I was furious and not sure what kind of plan God had in mind — but was not counting on Rexanna’s death being a part of the plan. Anyway — the Monday (June 26, 2006) after the funeral I was contacted by Dr. Daniel Karp (Rexanna’s Doctor) and we talked about the fight, spirit and impact Rexanna had on so many people. Dr. Karp wanted to discuss further the possibility of starting a Foundation in Rexanna’s memory/honor. Rexanna and I had a long talk before she passed and she really wanted to give back to M. D. Anderson, she also had a passion for the folks we met fighting cancer who did not have the support team she had — She would love the idea of this Foundation.
In the initial stages of the Foundation we were working in collaboration to be under the umbrella of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The first order of business to even be considered for a Foundation was to establish a Leadership Gift. (at least $25 thousand) We exceeded that mark quickly and on Oct. 6th presented $32,320.00 to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The next focus was and still is securing our Board of Directors. Sheri & I had to keep two things in mind in these important selections — 1. A passion for the mission of the Board -and staying true to Rexanna, and 2. The ability to contact, meet, spread the word, generate money and/or people. We also needed the board to be from across the state of Texas with substantial diversity – based on everything from gender, age, and to profession. It has taken longer to get the board in place because we felt it was important to meet personally with each prospective member and talk to them face to face. Scheduling this has taken time. Right now we have secured 9 people for our Board of Directors. Each of these people has committed to the Board, has a passion for our purpose and is eager to get going!
On Dec. 13th – Sheri Harmon (Rexanna’s Sister), Stephanie Kruger (Board of Director Member) and I had dinner with Dr. Daniel Karp for further discussion on the Rexanna Foundation. At this time we once again presented money to Dr. Karp — this time totaling more than $11,000. — much of the credit for these donations goes to our Board member Stephanie. She has been busy in the DFW area! The resounding news out of this dinner — was we are well on our way — but forming a Foundation with the longevity and impact we would like to have takes time and we agreed we would like to do things right with fewer errors in the beginning.
2 very special groups of people have been the reason for the successful launch of Rexanna’s Foundation. The first is the Leadership Team — these are the folks who made the initial contribution to enable us to begin the process of establishing Rexanna’s Foundation. The second is the Charter Team Members — these are all the folks who contributed before our first official board meeting in January, 2007.
In January 2007 I met with Patrick Mulvey, VP in charge of Development at M. D. Anderson and Dr. Daniel Karp. At this lunch Mr. Mulvey recommended that we form the foundation as an independent so that we did not have to follow the rules, regulations and guidelines as specified by M. D. Anderson. This would give us more latitude as to the things we could do to support M. D. Anderson in the long run.
Sheri Harmon contacted a law firm and secured a meeting for us with Adam Connaster and Craig Belair of Patton-Boggs LLP of Dallas, TX. Sheri, Stephanie & I met with these wonderful men and set out to plan the steps of incorporating Rexanna’s Foundation as a 501b(c)(3) non-profit corporation. We also worked on all the trademarking necessary to protect our marks. Speaking of marks – we worked with Your Ideas out of Abilene, TX who designed the logo which we now use. Our slogan is: “Huddle Up for Hope” and our official name is: “Rexanna’s Foundation for Fighting Lung Cancer.” All our trademarking has been completed and we have been approved as a non-profit corporation by the federal government and are officially a 501 (c)3.
Our goal is that Rexanna’s Foundation will be to lung cancer what the Komen Foundation is to Breast Cancer. We want to have the longevity and success that they have had. Forging ahead…It’s All Good!