Derek was a married father with two young children who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 26.
When his cancer came back after treatments in Florida, his search brought him and his wife, Emily, to see Dr. Nathan Fowler at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Their frequent and often lengthy visits to Houston for care quickly drained the family’s savings, especially after his weakened condition left him unable to continue working.
Derek said that he and Emily had accepted the fact that he might not survive the cancer, but that what hurt him the most was leaving his wife and children destitute. Derek could not bear leaving them not only without him as their protector and provider, but deeply in debt.
Their plight touched Dr. Fowler and the idea to form a nonprofit foundation that would provide housing, and make a difference in people’s lives was set in motion.