Through the Billie and George H. Ross Foundation, one well-known couple seeks to make an immediate impact on the lives of children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their motivation, they say, comes from their love of helping sick children.
“We want to do whatever we can to help the situation of these families and to make life easier for them,” Billie says.
George, an accomplished attorney and author, is well known for his co-starring role on Donald Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice. The Rosses were first introduced to St. Jude at a fundraising event held at Trump’s Mara-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. As any good lawyer would do, George thoroughly researched the hospital and liked what he saw.
“We looked at how St. Jude operates and the research they are involved in,” he says. “We were very impressed, and we are in a position to help, so we decided to do it.”
The Billie and George H. Ross Foundation has helped fund a patient treatment room at St. Jude and has provided funding for a patient education and entertainment system for every inpatient room in the hospital.
“It’s a wonderful communications device, both educational and fun, for children who have to stay in the hospital,” George says. Recently, the foundation also made a pledge to St. Jude for funding cardiopulmonary equipment.
George says the foundation’s goals are simple: “It’s about doing whatever we can do now to make life better for these children and their families,” he says. “Those are the things that are on our short list.”
In August of 2012, Billie and George visited the hospital, along with their daughter, Stephanie, and son-in-law, Tom. The family was overwhelmed by the experience.
“The care that was given to all the patients, the fact that no one pays—it was such an uplifting experience for all of us,” Billie says.
The family found the philosophy of the St. Jude leadership and staff to be particularly remarkable.
“They don’t look at something and say, ‘We can’t do this,’ or ‘We can’t afford it,’” George says. “If there is a need for a child, they say, ‘Let’s do it, and we will figure out a way to pay for it.’ To us, that philosophy is awe inspiring.”
For George and Billie, there is no time like the present to help children and families battling cancer at St. Jude.
“A person would have to be hard hearted to not be touched by this,” Billie says. George adds, “We do what we do because we are trying to help solve the problem of childhood cancer.”
Abridged from Promise, Spring 2014