HOUSTON – Even though she was more than 5,000 miles away, watching the Notre Dame Cathedral in flames on TV was as heartbreaking for Houston's Becca Cason Thrash as if she had witnessed the fire in person.
Cason Thrash, a philanthropist who has visited Paris over 100 times, still remembers her first trip to the iconic structure when she was 18 years old.
"The enormity of it. It stops you in your tracks and it does literally take your breath away," said Cason Thrash. "It took mine away."
Cason Thrash has raised millions of dollars for the Louvre Museum. She was in discussions to create and produce fundraising events to aid in renovation efforts for Notre Dame. She believes that undertaking now will need to be global.
"I think it's more undeniable, now more than ever," Cason Thrash said. "They need not only my help but they need the help of the entire world."
For Cason Thrash, the timing of the fire is especially saddening. With Good Friday and Easter approaching those who look to the cathedral as a symbol of their faith might take the devastation especially hard.
"I think about not only the loss of a great cathedral," Cason Thrash said, "but of a historical institution, a religious landmark, a cultural destination."
Cason Thrash has held fundraisers and other events in Houston to benefit France.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said Cason Thrash raised money for Notre Dame, but that information has been corrected.