Texas women have a well-earned reputation for big hair, big hearts and Texas-sized tenacity. The Women of The Rose is the story of such women — the kind who didn’t let the “little” things like no money, no experience with non-profits, and no breaks in the glass ceiling keep them from launching what has become a 30-year investment in life-saving women’s health. In this collection of stories from co-founder Dorothy Gibbons you will discover what it took to face naysayers, build a legacy, and even take on what once was a death sentence for 1000s of women.
The Story: By the mid 1980’s the oil bust had paralyzed Texas. Folks were out of work, most had lost their health insurance and many were losing their homes. In the midst of all the chaos and uncertainty, the incidence of breast cancer began its deadly climb. Poor and uninsured women were hit the hardest and many died because they couldn’t get help in time. At a chance meeting in 1984, hospital public relations director Dorothy Gibbons and general surgeon Dr. Dixie Melillo were challenged by the famed journalist Rose Kushner to do something about it. So they decided to start their own non-profit, a diagnostic clinic that would care for the thousands of Texas women who had nowhere else to turn and who would die without help. At a time when succeeding as a non-profit was against all the odds, The Rose was born.
From its humble beginnings in a tiny office in a strip mall, The Rose now serves 40,000 people a year, women from all walks of life, from huge cities or small rural communities who face falling through the cracks of the healthcare system. This is the story of how The Rose was born and how it survived, a story of strong, determined women who did whatever it took to care for one other. It is the story of shrimp boils and skydiving, of pink goats and the pain of watching so many die. It is the story of unfathomable generosity, unexpected corruption, and the hard truth about who can afford healthcare and who can’t. It is a story about the power of believing and a salute to the courage and tenacity of women.
All I have to say is WOW!!!!. This book makes you want to cry, punch something, laugh and hug someone all at once. I was unaware that mammograms (something that I always assumed was part of basic healthcare) were basically unavailable for those who were poor/going through financial hardships. And oh boy, does it make me mad!!!! On the other hand, I am ecstatically happy that there is a place like The Rose to help those people!!
I really liked reading Dorothy’s telling of how The Rose came to be and I loved reading the stories that she told. My mother ran a non profit charity for years (Mike’s Wish Foundation) before deciding to stop it and from what I remember, it wasn’t easy to do. For them to grow their non profit clinic into something as big as The Rose is fantastic.
I had a sister go through a breast cancer scare at 17-18ish, a grandmother who had throat cancer that spread to her breasts, an aunt who died from cervical cancer and several friends who have had cervical/breast cancer. Myself, I had a cervical cancer scare when I was 21 and with my history, I get checked every 6 months. This year, I start mammograms because of my breast size. So this book definitely struck a nerve.
I do think everyone needs to read a book like this. I still have friends, who at 39/40 years old, who think that they are “unbreakable” and “nothing will ever happen to me”. Sorry, but as this book shows so well, “nothing” can happen to anyone!!!
Will I reccomend this book to family and friends? Yes
Will I reread this book? Yes
Age range? All ages.
I have included links to The Rose in my review. If you can, donate!!!
Amazon links (Prices can and will change):
Kindle Unlimited (Yellow button that says “Read for free”. You need to have a subscription in order to use
Kindle (Orange button that says “Buy now with one click”. Comes standard with an Amazon account. You just need to download the app)
Disclaimer: I received The Women of The Rose for free from Dorothy Gibbons for my honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone. I recieved no financial compensation.