At Gifts of Hope our mission is to assist cancer patients with lodging, medical and support. Gifts of Hope is dedicated to supporting cancer patients by providing a place to stay at Hope House and assistance with medical expenses, easing their emotional and physical stress while coping with cancer treatments.
The Hope House was born out of necessity. For a cancer patient who is undergoing treatment in the Midland-Odessa area, and cannot afford a hotel room for weeks on end, finding suitable lodgings is a major challenge. Given no alternative, patients just end up not coming for treatment.
At the age of just 40 years old, Ruth Ann Wilkinson died in 1996 with colon cancer. Before losing her own battle with cancer, Ruth Ann Wilkinson started a campaign to open Hope House, a home away from home for patients to stay and live during their treatment. Ruth Ann’s vision was to provide hope for the minds, bodies and spirits of the cancer patients and their loved ones.
In 2004 Mary Collier, Fred Newman and other Midlanders pooled their resources, formed an advisory board and began the process of filing for an EIN. In 2005 Gifts of Hope began with a small advisory board passionate for the mission. In 2006, just ten years after Ruth Ann lost her battle to cancer, the original Hope House opened its doors to provide a home away from home to cancer patients.
Demand for the rooms quickly outstripped the resources of the Gifts of Hope. The Hope House routinely housed as many as three additional patients daily in local hotels and motels at an average cost of $75/night per patient. In addition, there was a long waiting list of cancer patients seeking assistance. In December 2008, the dream of building a brand new Hope House became a reality. In 2010, the current Hope House opened its doors and serves the patients of West Texas. Hope House became a reality because of the strong support of our community that united to build this wonderful addition to Midland. Without their support and generous donations, we would not have the opportunity to offer such a wonderful resource to the community.
Since opening the Hope House has:
- Provided over 10,000 room nights to cancer patients at no cost to them.
- Served over 4,000 patients in the Permian Basin.
Gifts Of Hope, Inc. has undergone many changes. In 2010 our beloved founder and champion, Mary Collier, moved away from Midland with her husband to pursue his career. As with any organization, a loss of this nature presented many challenges. The Board of Directors of Gifts of Hope, Inc. responded to the challenges as an opportunity to advance the organization and its programs.
In 2011 Fatima Castillo joined Gifts of Hope to serve as Executive Director. Today, Gifts of Hope assists cancer patients with lodging, medical/dental bills, transportation, and other necessary support during the recuperative process. We are proud to be the go to organization in Midland for all cancer patients needing assistance and providing hope during a very difficult time.
Gifts of Hope assists cancer patients in need, the cancer patient who has limited financial resources. Typical patients that we help may live in Midland or Odessa, but many live in a small community in the Permian Basin and drive into Midland to be treated at the Allison Cancer Center or the West Texas Cancer Center. Many patients drive hundreds of miles for treatment. A person diagnosed with cancer undergoes uncertainty and fear. To some of these patients, coming to cities the size of Midland and Odessa can be intimidating as they arrive not knowing anyone, not able to afford a place to stay and dealing with the unknowns of the disease. This situation is overwhelming and they need support both financially and spiritually to complete their treatment process. Gifts of Hope’s purpose is to meet those needs.
As a not-for-profit 501c3 organization, Gifts of Hope is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. While each member of this diverse group brings a unique expertise and perspective to the organization, they all share a commitment to preserve Gifts of Hope mission. We are grateful to the 2017 Board of Directors for their guidance and support.
Glenn began assisting Gifts of Hope with technology architecture when Hope House II was under construction. He has a special affinity for the Gifts of Hope mission since both his father and his father-in-law were victims of cancer. Glenn hopes that his participation with the board will encourage his two daughters, Bethany and Madison, to develop the “heart of a servant” and to continue his legacy of volunteerism. When not working with technology or volunteering he engages in his recreational passion – chili cook-offs for charities. What more enjoyable way is there to contribute than cooking and consuming a Texas classic dish?
Joey Hopkins - Treasurer
Joey graduated with a BBA in Financial Management from Abilene Christian University in 2009. He began his career as an independent landman in 2010, and has been in mineral acquisitions since 2014. Joey formerly served on the board of the I-20 Wildlife Preserve & Jenna Welch Nature Study Center and currently serves on the Midland Hotel/Motel Tax Advisory Board. Joey is a member of ACU President’s Circle. He and his wife Lauren have one son.
Anna Stark - Secretary
I am blessed with a loving husband of 37 years and three amazing caring adult children. The opportunity to serve on the "Gifts of Hope" Board came up in 2016. I am a firm believer in helping where I can to make a difference. Being a volunteer gives you a sense of fulfillment and joy. In May of 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I know the struggles. I now look at life in a different way. "Gifts of Hope" has a mission and it is my intention to help achieve all its worth. I am appreciative of the chance to serve on this Board.
Paul Acosta joined the Nonprofit Management Center in 2011. In his capacity as Associate Director, he provides information, consulting and serves as a resource to nonprofit organizations in the Permian Basin. A native of Odessa, Texas, Paul lived in Missouri (Columbia and St. Louis) from 2002-2010 before moving back to the Permian Basin. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in History with an emphasis on U.S. and Latin American studies. His professional experience includes public education, county government administration, and nonprofit management. He is married to Valerie who is the Executive Director for the Midland County Public Library Foundation.
I serve as Minister to Senior Adults at First Baptist Church in Midland. After a career as an educator, I have served for 14 years on the FBC staff and also four years at Austin Baptist Church in Austin,Texas. I am blessed to have survived cancer twice in my life and have known and supported the wonderful services of Gifts of Hope for many years. I also oversee a group called CAPS at First Baptist that has informational meetings about cancer research quarterly and maintains a supply room for those currently in treatment. My husband Crosby and I have three married children and one smart grandson. I have previously served on the Buckner Board and am also currently serving on the board for Circle 6 Baptist Camp. I am honored to be a new member of the Gifts of Hope Board.
Amber Chavez, LBSW
This is my first year to serve on the Gifts of Hope Board. I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful organization. I have had the opportunity to work with Gifts of Hope to organize and facilitate support groups. Cancer has impacted my life through family members. My grandpa passed away from cancer when I was ten years old. Looking back I can see how beneficial Gifts of Hope would have been when my grandpa had cancer. It is an honor to be able to give back to cancer patients by serving on the Gifts of Hope board. I moved from El Paso to Midland/Odessa in 2009 to go to school, and have found my home away from home.
It is with much pleasure and many blessings that I have a second opportunity to serve as a board member for the Gifts of Hope. As so many have experienced in their own lives I was first touched and terrified by cancer when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in my early twenties. Several years later I found my passion in life as a registered nurse and was honored to serve with the wonderful staff and medical team at Allison Cancer Center first as a chemo nurse and then in the radiation department. I come to the Gifts of Hope board with 25 years of serving on local nonprofit boards and one national board. My passion for the fight against cancer continues as I serve on this board and seek to honor the mission and clients of Gifts of Hope.
My name is Bridget Houston Hyde. I have lived in Midland for 16 years. As a young woman, I worked as a petroleum geologist. Then, I transitioned to homemaker and raised my three girls. During that time, my interests changed from geology to theology. I received a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from the University of Loyola in New Orleans and was later certified as a Spiritual Director through the Haden Institute in North Carolina. Currently, my time is spent seeing clients in spiritual direction at my office in the Woodhill Building, mentoring Education for Ministry at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, and volunteering as a chaplain at Midland Memorial Hospital. My interest in Gifts of Hope began 14 years ago when I worked with Mary Collier helping a friend in her struggle with cancer, and later as a cancer survivor myself. It is inspiring to see the work being done by gifts of hope and to have a chance to support their efforts.
Fred and his wife Chris have been involved with Gifts of Hope and Hope house even before the board or house existed. “Watching this organization unfold and seeing the fruits of so much labor pay off has been a wonderful journey.”
- Founder of Gifts of Hope and currently serves on its board.
- Served on MISD board 5 years and served as President last 2 years of term.
- Served on MARC's board and served as president of the board.
- Rotarian and past president.
- Past senior warden and vestry member at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
- Recipient of Exchange Club “Golden Deeds” award.
- Recipient of Beacon Outstand Volunteer Award.
- Recipient of Philanthropic Family of the Year award.
- Serves on UTPB advisory committee for engineering program.
- Serves on Midland College's aviation advisory board.
- Past Boy Scout scoutmaster for 5 years.
- Served on board of TX Workforce Commission.
- Holds over 50 U.S. patents.
Myranda grew up in Pecos, Tx and moved to Midland in 2006. After several years as a stay at home mother she decided to volunteer within her community. She joined the Junior League of Midland in 2008 and since then has volunteered with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the PTA’s of her children’s schools, LHS Orchestra Booster Club, March of Dimes, Bynum School, Jubilee Center of Midland, Centers for Families and Children as well as the Gifts of Hope where she volunteers on Thursdays making sandwiches for infusion patients at Allison Cancer Center. She decided to volunteer with Gifts of Hope after her beloved Grandfather passed away from cancer in March 2015. The two of them were able to utilize the help offered through the Gifts of Hope when they stayed at the Hope House in the fall of 2014. She was honored to be asked to become a member of the board of directors in late 2016. She currently sits on two other local boards, The Jubilee Center of Midland, where she is the current Chairman, and The George W. Bush Childhood Home. She and her husband, Aaron, have been married for 15 years and have two children, Annabella and Marek.
Fatima Castillo - Executive Director
Fatima moved to Midland with her family in 2006 and fell in love with the community and its residents. She enjoys volunteering in the community, especially at her children’s school. Fatima has served as Gifts of Hope’s Executive Director since April of 2010. She loves being able to provide support and assistance to cancer patients in the Permian Basin. “I truly believe in the mission of Gifts of Hope. When you see someone in need and you are able to lift them up, it brings so much joy. I’m honored to serve as the director of this organization.”