king aerospace makes a gift from the heart to help children with cancer
November 15, 2019
Barbara and Jerry King know how scary cancer can be. Because of their personal experiences with the disease and their abiding love for children, on November 8 they announced an endowment to the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, Division of Pediatrics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
The Barbara and Jerry King Pediatric Heroes Endowment Fund will sponsor into perpetuity the hospital’s relatively new Outstanding Employee of the Year Awards. The third such annual event will be held May 15, 2020. Eight MD Anderson team members will be honored for these peer-nominated and reviewed, merit-based awards.
King Aerospace Founder and Chairman Jerry King says his Dallas-based company has always been about serving people with love through servant leadership and helping team members find their individual “why,” or purpose. “We just happen to work on airplanes,” says King. “This endowment lifts up MD Anderson’s superstars and, hopefully, inspires them to keep up the good work. Those honored can include professionals working directly with patients, but also those who are more behind the scenes – from a researcher battling cancer with a microscope to a counselor helping caregivers access needed resources.”
In 1989, Barbara King became one of the region’s first certified pediatric nurses. She was the family’s primary bread winner in those early years. In 1992, Jerry left his leadership role with a major Dallas-area aircraft modification company to launch his own business, first as a defense contractor then branching out to include corporate aviation. As they worked and raised their son and daughter, they also dealt with cancer. Two battles of breast cancer for Barbara. Kidney and bladder cancer for Jerry.
This endowment was a gift from the heart. Last Friday, Jerry King donned a heart costume and walked through the hospital, interacting with children. Smiles appeared on the faces of many children undergoing active treatment as they waved from their beds. Lots of high fives were given. He engaged one 8-year-old boy wearing an Oklahoma State shirt. King pulled out an old photo of his son Jarid – now president of King Aerospace – during his OSU defensive-tackle days. King asked the boy if he’d like to have it. The answer: yes.
Pediatric oncologist and Division Head Richard Gorlick, M.D., is himself a survivor of childhood cancer. “The diagnose of cancer has a devasting impact on a child and the family unit, requiring tremendous support to achieve the best outcomes,” says Dr. Gorlick. “We cure 80 percent of the kids diagnosed with cancer, but that’s not good enough. We’re determined to do better and the Kings’ generous gift will help us.”