Voices of Houston: Meet Dorothy Gibbons, a local leader helping more than 40K women annually

The Rose Houston Mobile Mammography Reveal in Brazoria County
The Rose Houston Mobile Mammography Reveal in Brazoria County (Rena O. Productions LLC.)

HOUSTON – It was the mid 1980s when Houston faced the economic downfall of the oil bust. During this time many businesses faced foreclosures, and lots of people were out of work.

During a time of despair, two women made it their mission to help those in desperate need.

Related: This Houston hairstylist is on a mission to empower breast cancer patients

At the time, co-founders Dorothy Gibbons and Dr. Dixie Melillo were working at Bayshore Medical Center. With many patients out of work, Houstonians were left uninsured and unable to pay for health checkups.

“It became very obvious how many women did not have insurance. We were seeing a lot of late-stage breast cancer,” said Gibbons, co-founder of The Rose.

Dorothy Gibbons, co-founder of the Rose (The Rose)

It wasn’t until Rose Kushner, a journalist for the Baltimore Sun, encouraged Gibbons and Dr. Melillo to leave the hospital and begin an organization that would impact more than 40,000 women and men annually.

In 1986, The Rose began its operation, becoming the first nonprofit breast cancer organization based on the insured covering the costs of the uninsured.

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