Sharing Their Story
A father and son give back from the heart
José Montiel and his father, Roger, have personally experienced the magic of Cook Children's as a patient family in our Heart Center. Now, as managers at Panda Express, this father and son duo shares that magic with associates and customers by raising funds for other children at our medical centers.
As a child, José didn't know how severe his heart condition was. After receiving the first of three scheduled cardiac surgeries in the family's hometown of San Francisco, California, José was referred to Vincent Tam, M.D., medical director of Cardiothoracic Surgery, for his second surgery. Dr. Tam explained José's condition to him in terms that he could understand — and helped him find hope. The two formed a special bond, and the family moved to Texas to continue José's care at Cook Children's.
"Dr. Tam told me, 'We can solve this. We can research and solve your case,'" José said. "That made me more comfortable. I didn't feel depressed; I felt motivated to continue living. They prepared me for it mentally, and that was really important for me."
Roger, already a manager with Panda Express, transferred to a location in Fort Worth. During his treatment, José personally experienced the generosity of his father's employer when Peggy Chern, co-founder of Panda Restaurant Group, visited Roger's store.
"I saw Peggy talking with my dad, and he explained the situation to her," José said. "Peggy said, 'Don't worry, we will help you.' They gave my dad the time off that he needed to be there with me and support me."
Now 19, José has followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a manager at Panda Express. Inspired by their experience at Cook Children's and the generosity of Panda Express, they support our patients by sharing their story and encouraging associates and customers to donate.
"When I see that Panda shows love and care for my situation, I say, 'OK, this is a company I love to work for,'" Roger said. "I share my story all the time in meetings. It's inspired me, and in every store I go to, I think about how I can give back to the children. I inspire the people in my workplace to raise more. Recently, one of our stores was only raising $119 per week. Now we're at $500. We did it by sharing the story."
Your generosity does not go unnoticed by others. It is emulated by those who realize its value to the community. It is revered by those who care for our patients because it enables them to do what they do best. And it is appreciated by every patient and every family who benefits from it.
Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.