A move to McAllen more than 48 years ago proved to be a very good decision for now retired pathologist, Dr. Domingo H. Useda. It was in this community that he grew a successful pathology practice and raised his six children.
“It was quite important to me and my family to give back to the community in a meaningful way in return for the acceptance and support we enjoyed all these years,” said Dr. Useda.
Useda recently made a gift of $200,000 to he Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation, whose current and sole mission is to provide support for the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic.
Inspired by the two organizations’ goal of filling a void in the region for pediatric cancer treatment, Dr. Useda pledged his future support, primarily to help sustain the clinic’s laboratory services.
As a pathologist, Dr. Useda diagnosed numerous cancer cases through out his career, but it was the cases involving children that would most break his heart. “Cancer is a cruel, ominous disease for anyone, but somehow when it attacks children, its ravages are the cruelest. The children that survive might reveal specific clues for the
extinction of this sinister disease,” he said.
In January 2008, the Vannie Cook Clinic opened a critically needed lab and six months later, named it for Dr. Useda. He described this honor as unexpected and splendid. The clinic hopes to expand its services by adding a flow cytometry lab to rapidly and accurately confirm a cancer diagnosis and initiate life-saving therapy.
“When a child is diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, blood tests literally become a way of life,” said Dr. Juan Carlos Bernini, the clinic’s medical director. “The new in-house lab has helped decrease patient wait time and has eliminated the need for our patients to go to an outside lab. Expanding our services to include flow cytometry will take this facility to a new level. We are very grateful for Dr. Useda’s generosity and commitment to the children of this community who deserve care of the highest quality.”
“Undoubtedly I am quite biased in thinking that laboratory medicine has a big role in the diagnosis and proper treatment of cancer,” said Dr. Useda. “Our children are our future. Those that survive cancer will reward us, those that do not would have been given hope and compassion during their treatment,” he said.