Longtime Parkland CEO Ron Anderson dies of cancer

RJAnderson

Ron J. Anderson, M.D.

Ron J. Anderson, M.D., president and CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System for 29 years, died Thursday, Sept. 11 of cancer. He was 68 years old. As of Friday morning, services were pending.

Anderson took over as head of Parkland in 1982, when he was 35 years old and when the AIDS epidemic was in its early days. Anderson was head of the county hospital when, in the late 80s, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance  (then called Dallas Gay Alliance) and Ron Woodruff of Dallas Buyers Club fame, filed — and won — the lawsuit that forced Parkland to treat people with HIV.

Anderson was named president and CEO after serving two years as medical director of the hospital’s emergency room and outpatient clinic and head of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Internal Medicine. He retired from Parkland in 2011, after spending his last years with the hospital leading the bond campaign that brought in public financing for the new $1.3 billion facility due to open next year.

In the mid-1980s, Anderson grabbed national attention when he spoke out against the practice — called patient dumping — of transferring medically unstable patients from private hospitals to public hospitals based on the patient’s ability or inability to pay, leading to passage of state laws regarding indigent care in Texas and later federal legislation banning patient dumping.

According to a press release from Parkland announcing his death, Anderson was known as an advocate of universal health care and for leading development of Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care health centers. He came to national attention again in the mid-1990s as a spokesperson in the movement for better confidentiality regarding the patient/physician relationship.

Anderson once said, in a speech to a UT Southwestern graduating class, “It is not enough just to try ‘to do good’ and try ‘to avoid evil,’ although these are the ethical keystones of the physician/patient relationship. We cannot be paternalistic toward patients and must accept their cultural, religious, ethnic and social differences. We must respect our patients’ autonomy and desire for wholeness, which should stimulate us to address the social justice issues affecting our patients’ lives.”

—  Tammye Nash

Fashion roundup

2photoLast Thursday was Dallas’ most fashionable day of the week — perhaps the year. On the heels of DIFFA the previous Saturday, three fashion events spread throughout the day captured our imaginations — and monopolized our time. (You can link to photos from all of the events here.)

It  started in the morning with the cancer fundraiser Dress 4 Yellow, a luncheon and runway show at the Adolphus Hotel. With most (but not all) fashions splashing shades yellow, it was a canary-like kick off to spring.

The only men’s fashions to walk the catwalk were from Nike Golf, but one of the highlights was the appearance of a cancer survivor among the male models. Two women, although cancer survivors, both showed off the fashions of the day, and all were stunning. But this event was less about fashion itself than about hope — a message spread especially poignantly during the luncheon by former NFL player Dhani Jones, dapperly decked in one of his own bowties, designed for the LiveStrong Foundation. Jones’ personal story of being touched by cancer added a serious and sobering moment to all the glam.

The afternoon benefited from beautiful weather and low winds for the outdoor “What to Wear” fashion show at Mockingbird Station. Hosted by DFWStyleDaily.com editor Lisa Petty, who led a panel commenting on the horseshoe runway of fashions available from retailers at the upscale development, it took on the theme of Las Vegas glitz, with the panel commenting on trends like layered necklaces and how to pack for a weekend in Vegas to maximize looks in a minimum of space. Plus appearances by members of FC Dallas soccer team added some beefcake. (Arnold Wayne Jones)

In the evening, fashions took wing at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, a creative and diverse range of designs turned up the heat on the runway for the annual Fashion Cited show, benefiting Legal Hospice of Texas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tig Notaro has cancer, jokes about it

We’ve written about queermedian Tig Notaro on several occasions (including here) so we were distressed to learn that she has been diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. But in a story we read on New York magazine’s Culture Vulture page, it sounds like it is less distressing for Tig — or rather, she’s found a way to deal with it that is both healing and hilarious.

Over the weekend, she did a set in New York where she tackled the news, and the accounts are that she was brilliant. Louis C.K. even claimed via Twitter that in 27 years as a standup, he’d seen few sets to rival hers.

It’s the tritest of cliches to call “laughter the best medicine,” but it sounds as though, if that’s true, Tig is in good hands.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fundraiser honoring Libby Serber tonight

About a month ago, I wrote a story about Libby Serber, the daughter of local actress Cara Serber and her husband Jeff. Libby has been struggling with cancer and her story has inspired many in the theater community and beyond.

Apparently, well beyond. The 2nd annual Peace, Hope and Butterflies kick-off party — a fundraiser sponsored by the Miracle Players Foundation to bring music to children in the hospital — is tonight at Mason Bar in Uptown, and little Libby is being honored. The event, from 5:30 to 7:30, will feature live music and complimentary drinks and apps. And you can of course make a donation, and maybe make a difference in the lives of Libby and kids like her.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

You think you know meme? Meet Libby Serber

The word “meme” has recently itself become a meme. The word is more than a century old, but took root in the 1990s, but with the spread of Facebook and other social networking, it has become part of the culture itself.

It’s also been bastardized. Now, any YouTube video linked more than twice seems to call itself “viral;” short-term idiocy like “planking” gets the meme label, though it disappears as quickly as it arises.

You want to know a real meme, you want to know about Libby Serber.

If you are part of the North Texas theater community, or friends with anyone who is, chances are you have seen at least some reference to Libby. Her mother, Cara, is an actress in town, well-respected and even more well-liked.

About two weeks ago, Libby was just like and other 6-year-old kid. Now, she’s a cancer survivor and veteran of open-heart surgery. It all happened very quickly for Libby. Her parents Jeff and especially Cara were upfront about what was going on, and surprisingly frank and timely in their updates of Libby’s condition, which seemed, at time, to change hourly: Diagnosis, surgery, home, back to the hospital, more surgery, goofing with the other kids in the cancer ward. It was almost surreal what this beautiful little ginger-haired tyke was enduring. In not one picture, though, was she anything other than smiling.

It didn’t take long for the entire theater community to begin offering prayers and support. Soon, her photo (like the one above) was the profile picture of countless people — male, female, old and young, those who knew her and those who had only heard of her (Cara famously acted in a play, the camp musical Debbie Does Dallas, just a few weeks after Libby was born).

The word spread. Within the past few days, Libby has been profiled on NBC-5 and the Dallas Morning News. Everyone within six degrees of the Serbers know her as “our little rock star.” “Mom, I think I might be famous,” reported Cara on her Facebook page. If you want to experience the power of love, you just need to read the comments posted there.

Libby, of course, is not unique. Many kids — too many — endure such travails. But the sincerity with which the theater community (and now, the broader Metroplex, even nation) has rallied behind her is inspiring. Forget meme — Libby is part of the Zeitgeist, a child whose bravery has touched the better angels in many adults who perhaps don’t engage in the exchange of humanity as much as they should.

I’m rooting for you, Libby — everyone is.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Community rallies to support GLBT Community Center President

Tim Brookover

Last fall Tim Brookover, a long-time Houston LGBT activist and current president of the Houston GLBT Community Center, made public that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. Throughout his treatment Brookover has remained the vibrant advocate for LGBT people that Houston has always known him to be (he even started a cancer support group at the center). Brookover recently ended his employment in the office of Houston City Council member Sue Lovell and applied for disability.

While his application is pending the people of his long-time church home have decided to help. Bethel United Church of Christ (1107 Shepherd) will host a spaghetti dinner to raise funds for Brookover’s expenses this Sunday, Feb. 12, at noon. Ticket’s are $10 and include beverages and speghetti. RSVP via facebook.

—  admin

Celebration of Love Gala raises funds for Lesbian Health Initiative

The scooter's way cuter in pink, sorry Liz

The Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston is celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early with their Celebration of Love Gala Saturday, Feb. 11. at the Double Tree Hotel downtown (400 Dallas Street). The 10th annual gala is the 20-year-old organization’s major fundraiser of the year.

This year the gala features comedienne Susanne Westenhoefer, who claims to be the “first openly-gay comedian to appear on television” (yep, she was out before Ellen).  Dorothy Weston, co-founder and CEO of The Rose (a breast cancer prevention and treatment organization) will be honored  for her years of service. In addition the evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and the raffling of a pink Vitacci 50cc Retro Scooter. LHI executive director Liz James is particularly excited about the raffle even if she didn’t quite get her way on the prize. “I wanted it to be a black scooter, as I’m a bit on the butch side,” said James, adding that more “femme” forces in the organization prevailed and a pink scooter was selected instead.

Regardless of the color of the scooter, the Celebration of Love Gala promises to be a fun filled night, not just for sapphic romantics, but for anyone looking for a valentine’s date night that supports a good cause. Tickets for the black tie affair start at $100 and can be purchased at lhihouston.org. Doors open at 6 pm.

—  admin

Dallas Eagle DJ Troy Sands passes away

DJ Troy Sands

We were sad to learn that Troy Sands passed away Sunday morning. He was a resident DJ at the Dallas Eagle. Sands built his reputation playing the old Brick on Maple Avenue and made a name for himself as a headlining DJ not only in Dallas, but throughout the country. I had the pleasure of writing this story on him as he made his return to the scene after a tough struggle with cancer.

This was posted by two of the Dallas Eagle’s managers on Facebook on Sunday:

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that a very beloved member of our family has left us today. DJ Troy Sands passed away this morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Troy’s family and loved ones. The DJ booth at the Dallas Eagle will never be the same without his smile and laugh. You will be missed greatly Troy. We will post additional information concerning any service or memorial as we receive it.

Mark [Frazier] and Cully [Johnson]

Upon the news, people began posting their condolences on Sands’ Facebook page.

—  Rich Lopez

The Queen of Soul has pancreatic cancer

Such awful news. The world of music has been enriched so much by Aretha Franklin.

Aretha Franklin, hospitalized twice in recent weeks, has cancer, a relative confirms to Detroit television station WJBK after the National Enquirer earlier reported that the Queen of Soul has incurable pancreatic cancer.

…Franklin is doing “okay,” the Franklin relative tells the TV station, but her family is asking for continued prayers and support. Pancreatic cancer, which claimed the life of actor Patrick Swayze last year, is not typically detected early and spreads fast, so it has a low survival rate.

I tear up just watching this and thinking of the contributions of the Queen of Soul. May her remaining days be free of pain and that she knows how many feel for her. Her music in the 60s was an essential part of my childhood and always reminds me of my late aunt Judi (photo), who played Aretha’s songs on 45s down in the basement of her home in Queens for us to listen to.

Related:

* Memorial: You are home with mom, Judi
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin