Dr. Sasha Vukelja, a Tyler oncologist, shared stories about her mother at the inaugural Women’s Fund Mother’s Day luncheon on Thursday.
“My favorite thing to talk about is my mother,” she said. “We had very little, but we also felt we could give to others.”
The Women’s Fund is known for that spirit of giving. Over the six years since its inception, the organization has raised more than $685,000.
Dr. Vukelja is known not only for being a doctor, but also for a book chronicling she and her mother’s journey from Communist Russia to the United States. Through it all, Dr. Vukelja said, her mother never lost her giving spirit.
Her mother secured a prosthetic leg for an amputee, and frequently had disadvantaged outcasts into her home for meals. She gave away her paintings, saying they were “not for sale,” and her books.
“My mother always said ‘If you’re going to give to someone, do it now, because you may never have another chance’ … Watching my mother made me the way I am today. You never know how your kindness, your time, your affection will reach someone.”
Also at the luncheon, a representative from the Palestine Women’s Fund presented the Tyler Women’s Fund with a donation, in thanks for the mentoring and advice that the one group gave to the other.
Fred Smith, president and founder of Fourth Partner, also presented the group with a donation in honor of his mother.
“We can tell others through the Women’s Fund how grateful we are for what we have received,” he said.