Tuesday morning was an emotional time that mixed joy and sadness for Dinah and Ray Weable as the well-known Waxahachie couple announced they are stepping down from the Dinah Weable Foundation.
The announcement came as they stood in front of the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie. There by the front doors, a sign inscribed “Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivor Board” was dedicated in honor of the foundation’s mission to fund mammograms for uninsured women.
Since 2007, the foundation has provided more than 1,200 women with the life-saving screenings. The Weables’ work will carry on, however, with board member Cindy Smith of Waxahachie taking over the reins.
As is Dinah Weable, Cindy Smith is a breast cancer survivor. She’s also someone whom the Weables said will move the program forward with the same passion and determination.
“Thank you all for being here today as we celebrate this sign,” Dinah Weable said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Baylor Scott & White in fulfilling the mission of the Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivors Board since 2007.
“Needless to say, our board members have worked diligently during those years to make sure that a woman in our midst, who is uninsured or underinsured, can have this life-saving test,” she said.
In March 2018, the Weable foundation met with Chris York, then president at Baylor Scott & White – Waxahachie, along with Jim Pitts, then president of the local board of directors for the hospital, and Melissa Dalton, director of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation. Efforts were coordinated with the Baylor foundation to ensure a seamless transition, with the Weable foundation presenting a $95,000 check to the Baylor foundation “with the understanding that this contribution would ensure that the mammograms would continue as long as that funding was available,” Weable said.
“The Baylor Foundation has set up a special fund known as the Dinah Weable Indigent Mammogram Fund and it is actively working each month to fulfill our mission,” Weable said. “Melissa Dalton, who could not attend this dedication of the sign today, emailed me yesterday with this news. As of the end of April 2019, the fund has paid for 148 mammograms since the fund was established last year. This was a culmination of the dream of our board and today we are continuing fulfilling our dreams by presenting President Will Turner with an additional $20,000.”
Weable noted with a smile how the sign wasn’t large enough to list the names of the foundation’s board members.
“I do understand that but this sign also belongs to them because they have worked to make all of this possible,” she said. “’Thanks’ is not enough but they know it is their sign and it honors them for the hard work they did for years.”
Expressing her appreciation, she then recognized the board members individually: Diann Wilson, Don Wilson, Janet Magee, Pat Smith, Sherry Dyess, Joy Denny, Candon Birdwell, Lynn Whitehair and Cindy Smith. She also recognized her husband, Ray Weable, for his love and his support for the work they did.
Expressing her appreciation also to the community and others for their support of the foundation over the years, Weable said, “We have been able to make donations to the hospital for the mammograms because of generous local donors, the sale of T-shirts by the fire department and the generosity of (former) Rep. Jim Pitts.
“Since 2007, this has been our mission and our members and volunteers worked to help make it successful,” she said.
On behalf of Baylor Scott & White – Waxahachie, President Will Turner expressed his appreciation to the Weables and the foundation’s work.
“A big part of our mission is being able to serve our community and it is great to partner with great people like Dinah and Ray and their board,” Turner said. “It’s a great example of people working together to serve the needs of Ellis County. We’re happy about their legacy and happy about the future and all the things that have been accomplished.”
After the dedication ceremony, the Weables shared that the Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivors Luncheon will no longer be held due to the lack of a large enough space and the cost.
It was an especially emotional moment for Ray Weable, who had started the luncheon as a way to support and honor his wife and other breast cancer survivors.
“We know that many elderly women look forward to the luncheon with the catered meal, gifts and door prizes but we have reached a point where we cannot find a big enough venue to hold the event and we were at the point where we had to make the decision to no longer hold the survivor luncheon,” he said.
Other ways to involve breast cancer survivors are in the works, however, and Dinah Weable noted that Smith will be chairing several different events to honor them in the future.
One of these events will be in coordination with the Pink Diva Sip and Stroll, which is slated for Saturday, Oct. 12, in coordination with the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association. As part of the event, a survivors walk will be held around the historic Ellis County Courthouse square.
Smith was unable to attend the sign dedication but spoke with the Sun over the phone afterwards, sharing her first experience with the breast cancer survivor group.
“I went to the luncheon the second year it was held,” she said. “I got the award for being the youngest survivor. And I was so happy when I was named as a board member.”
She said she’s excited to carry on the Weables’ legacy.
“I am so honored to be taking over for this amazing couple,” Smith said. “My big deal on this is awareness. People don’t want to talk about breast cancer and I want to help change that.”