Michal Powell’s Christmas gift came early. The 2015 Crystal Charity Ball chair thought she was just going to the Dallas Country Club for dinner on Tuesday, December 2, with husband Loyd. No big deal. But then she walked into a private dining room and discovered 22 very close friends and family including Baylor Health Care System CEO Joel Allison and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson.
The occasion? More about that later. First a little history.
It seems that a couple of years ago, CCB received an application to provide funding for North Texas babies diagnosed with spina bifida to have surgery while in-utero. It was an amazing operation available in Houston but not North Texas, forcing mothers to relocate for surgery and post-op monitoring. This meant mothers were separated from their husbands and their families in most cases for weeks and possibly months.
However, Dr. Kevin Magee and his Fetal Care Center at Baylor were on the brink of providing a breathtaking procedure. It had the baby no-bigger-than-a-Barbie-Doll being literally taken out of the womb and a pediatric surgeon sealing the spine’s opening.
Unfortunately, because of so many requests, this one just didn’t make the CCB cut.
It was during her volunteer work at Camp John Marc that Michal witnessed how devastating the birth defect was and how the surgery could truly make a dramatic difference in the children’s lives and those of their families. No, none of Michal’s family had suffered from the disease, but that didn’t matter. She wanted to do more. Husband Loyd understood and deeply appreciated his wife’s personal and emotional involvement. But what could he do? He was an oilman, not a doctor. So, he reached out to Joel and Robin for a solution.
Back to the Dallas Country Club. The real reason for the get-together was to tell Michal that Loyd had made “two nice gifts” to make the surgeries possible at Baylor. There were no photographers to capture the tears, surprise and embraces. Cameras weren’t necessary because no one present would ever forget the reactions of all in the room.
It was truly the kind of gift that reflects the season. Loyd gave Michal the gift that allowed her to provide others with life-changing happiness. Better than “The Gift of the Magi.”