The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Peggy and Lowry Mays

Mays Family Foundation gives $5 million to the CTRC

Each year, about 14 million people learn they have cancer and 8 million die from the disease worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of cancer deaths can be prevented.  For some patients, especially those living in low- and middle-income regions, treatment services and technologies are not widely available to help them.

Texans Peggy and Lowry Mays know firsthand that cancer does not discriminate. Both have survived a cancer diagnosis.

“Cancer can strike anyone at any age, no matter who you are or where you’re from,” Lowry Mays said. “We need exceptional resources right here in Texas.” That’s why the San Antonio couple has made it their mission to ensure that other Texans have a fighting chance against the disease.

The Mays have been steadfast supporters of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for decades. In 2015, together with their family, the couple gave $5 million to establish the Mays Family Foundation Distinguished University Presidential Chair for the Director of the CTRC. Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., director of the CTRC, is the holder of this prestigious academic chair.

“Everyone deserves access to the utmost cancer treatment and care,” Lowry Mays said.

“Peggy and I felt this was a turning point and an important time in the CTRC’s history to further invest in an already exceptional institution where the focus is on cancers that most affect the citizens of this region. Our community deserves the best.”

In an age of diminishing funding for scientific research, the Mays Family Foundation endowment will support important programs such as pilot research projects, faculty recruitment and retention, clinical trials, new technology and cancer prevention.

The gift also honors the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the CTRC in San Antonio.

Today, the CTRC is this region’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center, a distinction it has merited since 1991. Only 69 NCI-designated cancer centers exist in the United States, and four of them, including the CTRC, are located in Texas.

“This endowment is an extraordinary gift that will fuel opportunities for scientific breakthroughs and invest in the best and brightest minds in cancer research,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the UT Health Science Center.

“It is a remarkable testament to the Mays’ continuing commitment to the community and to the important role the CTRC has played herein.”

CTRC Director Dr. Ian M. Thompson Jr. describes Peggy and Lowry Mays as dedicated friends and community leaders who are passionate about eliminating cancer. In 1996, Peggy Mays helped organize and create the CTRC Cabinet, a group of committed donors who contribute $1,000 or more annually to the CTRC to fund the center’s highest priority needs in cancer research and treatment.

“Peggy and Lowry not only helped guide us from the beginning, they have committed to helping us over the years to reach ever-higher standards of excellence. They planted a seed that has grown into a full tree,” Dr. Thompson said. “Now they are planting again, and thanks to their generosity and leadership, our community will benefit from the excellence we harvest.”

“I have always felt like the CTRC was my ‘baby,’ and I am exceptionally proud of the remarkable progress our talented physicians, scientists, nurses and staff have made over the years,” Peggy Mays said. “Lowry and I and our entire family are delighted to honor the CTRC for its 40 years of lifechanging work and to support its aspirations for the future.”

If you would like more information about how to start an endowment, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at  ♦ 210-567-9219