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Annabelle Jones
Annabell Jones caption. Click to see video.

Survivor + Activist = Philanthropist

September 2013

by Saren Spicer

Annabelle Jones lives to improve the future of the next generations. Retired after 33 years of serving children as an elementary schoolteacher, she continues to make a difference in children’s lives by reading with them at her local library and working on projects in her community to help create a healthy future. As an advocate for the preservation of natural resources, she shares with others her philosophy that everyone should "tread lightly on the earth." Jones is committed to reducing her carbon footprint. She is proud of the fact that she is "98 percent off the grid" through her use of solar energy.

In the summer of 1989 Jones’ spirit was tested when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fueled by her inherent courage and devotion to her health, her job and her family in her hometown of San Angelo, Jones sought the expertise and a second opinion from physicians at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio where she decided to undergo treatment.

Bravely, Jones beat breast cancer and believes research at the CTRC played a major role in her survival.

"At the CTRC I felt I received kind, generous and professional care that fit my needs and allowed me to go home to San Angelo, finish raising my children, and complete graduate school and international studies," she said.

Today, Jones is an activist for several non-profit organizations with the goal of beating breast cancer by 2020. Most recently, she made the decision to endow the CTRC with a bequest through her will to be used for breast cancer research.

Jones believes research is the key to unlocking life’s mysteries. Growing up in the 1950s, she vividly remembers collecting nickels and dimes to contribute to the cause of eliminating polio and developing the vaccine used worldwide today. "I believe research is the answer. There have been so many advances in breast cancer treatment since I was diagnosed in 1989."

Recalling her childhood memories, she knows that each contribution to vital research can make that goal a reality.

"I am just a retired school teacher, but I believe we are all in the same boat, and each of us needs to do what we can to help row the boat. I strongly believe we all should get behind the innovative research efforts at the CTRC to defeat cancer. I want my legacy to be that in the future, our children and grandchildren will not have to deal with the pain and fear of cancer. I hope my contribution creates a domino effect so others give what they can."

To this day Jones remains grateful to Peter Ravdin, M.D., Ph.D., director of the CTRC Breast Cancer program. She also considers him a friend.

Jones fervently believes that women with cancer need support groups. "I am grateful because I feel I am always welcome to call CTRC with a question, come in and get a checkup or take one of their new classes in healthy cooking." She has been an active member of the CTRC Cabinet since its establishment in 1996 and enjoys her membership in the Laureate Society.

She has also reached out to others after her successful battle with cancer by participating in the Breast Cancer Coalition. As a breast cancer activist, Jones has, for many years, been a member of the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation and a regular volunteer for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium that brings together thousands of health care professionals from around the world focused on curing breast cancer.

The word "philanthropy" is derived from the Greek language generally meaning "love of humankind." Annabelle Jones demonstrates that being a philanthropist is within reach for everyone who acts to enhance the quality of life and help others in need. She describes herself as a survivor and an activist, but she has become a philanthropist, giving from her heart to improve the future health of others. She joins the UT Health Science Center in their goal "to make lives better."

Honoring your generosity: Laureate Society pays tribute to donors
Annabelle Jones is a proud member of the Laureate Society at the UT Health Science Center.

You can be a member too! The Laureate Society was established to pay tribute to those who have made gifts to the UT Health Science Center through a variety of estate planning vehicles including bequests, life income gifts and insurance policies.

Members share the common bond of generosity and visionary leadership, nourishing the university’s continued success.

Contact us if you have made a gift or plan to give. We look forward to recognizing and honoring your generosity that has a lasting impact on future generations and helps make lives better.

For more information about the Laureate Society, gift options or ways to give, visit giftplanning.uthscsa.edu or contact Kent Hamilton in the Gift Planning Office at 210-567-5001 or e-mail hamiltonw@uthscsa.edu.

Natalie Gutierrez contributed to this story.

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