Exxpress Mart raises, matches funds for 'Gift of Life'

Exxpress Mart raises, matches funds for 'Gift of Life'

Exxpress Mart local convenience stores successfully raised approximately $12,500 during a Holiday Reindeer campaign to benefit the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program, but the Exxpress Mart team did not stop there. Instead, Exxpress Mart principals Elias and Imad Sarkis matched the collected monies, making the total donation a whopping $25,000.

From Dec. 4, 2013 through Jan. 6, 2014, Exxpress Mart employees diligently collected donations from individuals to provide free cancer screenings and education throughout seven Southeast Texas counties. Employees encouraged customers to make a contribution to Gift of Life and gave them paper reindeers in recognition of their support.

Exxpress Mart Principal and Vice President Imad Sarkis said, “So much is riding on early detection. More screenings, exams and education will save lives, and you can’t put a price tag on that. We are honored to partner with Julie Rogers Gift of Life and look forward to working with them for years to come.”

“There is so much uncertainty in our country now,” said Regina Rogers, Gift of Life founder and chair. “And yet, it is critical that lifesaving cancer screenings and education still be made available to underserved individuals in our region. The contributions from the Exxpress Mart chain and their customers are a blessing for the Gift of Life at a time when the need for our services is increasing, while traditional funding avenues are diminishing. We are humbled by the extraordinarily compassionate spirits of Elias and Imad Sarkis, who are truly helping us save lives.”

All three were present at the Gift of Life offices Friday, Jan. 17, for a check presentation ceremony. During the ceremony, Elias and Imad Sarkis related a story about their father, who had been diagnosed with cancer that they were told was inoperable. Rogers went to the treatment facility where the Sarkis family patriarch was resting. On her way to his room, she got turned around and went into the non-denominational chapel at the facility. Rogers stopped to say a prayer for the man, who doctors had said had maybe three months to live. She greeted the man but was soon shuffled out of the room by a doctor’s arrival. After hearing what the doctor had to say, Rogers received a call from the Sarkis family. The doctors would be able to operate after all, and the cancer was removed shortly after. He has now recovered and is in remission, according to the family.

“My mother thought she was an angel,” Imad Sarkis said of Rogers.

Annually, the Gift of Life provides nearly 2,200 free mammograms and clinical breast exams for medically underserved individuals, with follow-up care for those who require additional testing and treatment. Additionally, the Gift of Life has made available more than 7,000 free prostate cancer screenings, with diagnostic and treatment costs entirely underwritten by the organization. Since inception, the program has helped extend the lives of more than 200 individuals who have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer and navigated them through treatment and healing. For more information regarding the Gift of Life, call (409) 833-3663 or visit giftoflifebmt.org.