Compassion translates in many different ways. For Patricia Gilmore-Hunter and her husband, Bobby, compassion means giving.
After the tragic death of their beloved Border Collie, T.J., Patricia decided to establish the T.J. Hunter Oncology Endowment at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) to promote cancer research and treatment for dogs. Per her request, Patricia’s desire that her funds be used so that other pet owners don’t have to go through the trials they did with T.J. as she suffered with cancer.
T.J. was seen as a part of the Hunter family. Coming from a pedigree that included Great Britain International Champions for sheep herding on both sides of her family, T.J. became a Hunter when she was 8 weeks old.
When T.J. was taken in for a regular check-up one day, the veterinarian discovered she had swollen lymph nodes, a low white blood cell count, a urinary infection, and anemia. Patricia said it was heartbreaking news and very sudden.
“In just days, she was just lying there,” Patricia said. “I couldn’t put her down—it was just too heartbreaking—but I knew it had to be done.”
Before they could do it, T.J. went on her own.
Patricia said the loss of T.J. was hard, but she wanted to find a way to give to those who have experienced the same hurt and to give T.J.’s life purpose. She decided the best way to do that was through a memorial tribute.
“It was just the worst loss that I’ve ever experienced,” Patricia said. “I wanted to stop other people from having to experience this pain, so I did my own research and I came across the Texas A&M Teaching Hospital and their giving program.”
Patricia’s connection to Texas A&M University dates back to her grandfather, who graduated with the class of 1897 in the mechanical engineering program. She said he was also a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
“He was a sergeant in the Corps, Company D,” Patricia said. “He was in the band, and he played the coronet.”
A frugal lifestyle enabled Patricia to save up enough to give what she could, while also continuing to support their grandchildren’s college educations.
“We are interested in education,” the Hunters said. “That’s very important to us. It’s through work, savings, and living within our means that we have saved up enough money to make this donation.”
Bobby agrees; he said he both supports and is very proud of her decision.
Patricia said there were many opportunities to give, but this one seemed to strike her as the way she could make the greatest impact.
“I just wanted to do something or help make a difference,” Patricia said. “Texas A&M is the type of place that makes ahuge difference, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org;979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of CVM Today magazine.