SA Cancer Council honors community members during April 10 luncheon

The SA Cancer Council (formerly the CTRC Council) will honor Dr. Ian Thompson, past director of the UT Health’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center, and Carla Bergner, Volunteer of the Year, during the organization’s Spring Luncheon fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, April 10 at the Omni Hotel San Antonio, 9821 Colonnade Blvd.

Featured speaker is Ed Whitacre Jr., former chairman and CEO of General Motors and AT&T. He will discuss the critical impact of UT Health’s cancer center to the Alamo City during a question and answer format. Tickets are $75 per person. Table sponsorships are also available. To purchase tickets or tables, visit All proceeds support cancer research and patient assistance at UT Health San Antonio.

“The SA Cancer Council supports UT Health San Antonio in the fight against cancer by providing financial support for both cancer research and patient assistance, as well as volunteer resources for cancer patient treatment, education and community outreach," said Board President Beverly Koehn. “Please join us on April 10 to honor two outstanding individuals of our community, who have made significant contributions to both cancer research and assisting those affected by the disease.”

Sponsors of the Spring Luncheon are the Klesse Foundation, The Trust Company, Gurinsky’s Fine Jewelry, Jefferson Bank, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Law Office of Laska A. Arnold PPLC, Frost Bank, Wortham Insurance & Risk Management, Amegy Bank, Chicago Title Company, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Masters Leadership Program, Mission Pharmacal Company, DOCUmation, Texas Capital Bank, UT Health SA-Radiology, UT Health SA-Office of the President and Virtuoso Builders.

2017 SA Cancer Council Honorees:

  • Dr. Ian Thompson

Dr. Thompson became the president, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital - Medical Center and vice president Market Oncology Service Line in January 2017. After growing up in Columbia, Missouri - Dr. Thompson received his undergraduate degree from West Point and his medical degree from Tulane University. Following a residency in urology in San Antonio, he completed a fellowship in Urologic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He returned to San Antonio first as a faculty urologist at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), then as chief of urology, and completed his military career as chairman of the Department of Surgery at BAMC.

He joined UT Health in 1998 while on active duty as chief of urology and then retired on Dec. 31, 1999, joining the university as a tenured professor of urology. After taking the Division of Urology to full departmental status and attaining the highest level of National Institutes of Health funding for a Department of Urology in the United States, he was appointed director of the UT Health cancer center in 2009. He successfully led the cancer center through the NCI grant review process to maintain its support as an NCI-designated Cancer Center three years after his appointment.

Dr. Thompson retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army. He served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a general surgeon in the 41st Combat Support Hospital in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm/Shield. He is the recipient of many military awards, including the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Legion of Merit. Dr. Thompson has practiced urologic oncology for more than 30 years with a special expertise in prostate cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment including surgical care of his patients.

  • Carla Bergner, Volunteer of the Year

Carla first volunteered at the cancer center’s Information Desk, welcoming patients and helping them find the resources they needed. During this period, she discovered that many patients suffered from a lack of basic necessities, including food. She and Ms. B.J. Mamuzic reached out to the San Antonio Food Bank to explore the possibilities of developing a partnership to better serve the needs of cancer patients. Carla’s and BJ’s initiative and tenacious advocacy led to the development of the first medically-based Food Pantry in San Antonio.

Carla did not rest on her laurels. She wanted the pantry to succeed and knew that it would necessitate significant resources to sustain the service. This was no small feat. It required not only a considerable time commitment but organizational skills, managerial talent, physical strength and a large vehicle. Carla has kept the food pantry stocked for the past three plus years.

She maintains the pantry’s inventory, communicates with staff about what needs to be ordered, organizes a team of volunteers to help with restocking the pantry, purchases the boxes to pack the food, drives to the San Antonio Food Bank to pick up the orders, loads and transports the food (some time in excess of 600 pounds), labels all the food items with expiration dates, stocks the pantry shelves and packs food boxes for needy patients. She does all this at least once a month.

To get the job done she has enlisted the assistance of her husband, neighbor and even her neighbor’s son, not to mention many dedicated SA Cancer Council members. Her commitment to helping cancer patients is amazing. Carla’s efforts make a huge difference in the lives of our patients and their families.

**Cover Image: Courtesy Image, SA Cancer Council.