Letter from the Board President of Friends for Hope

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill.

Dear Friends:


Serving as President of the Board of Directors of Friends for Hope is an honor and privilege. Our Past President, Beto Manrique, leaves big shoes to fill, as he left an indelible mark on our organization and the pediatric cancer community in the Rio Grande Valley. I am grateful for his leadership and for trusting me to lead this incredible organization. As a quote attributed to Albert Einstein says, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” True joy comes from service; there is no more noble cause than helping local children fight cancer.


Friends for Hope is near and dear to my heart. I volunteered as a high school student at the Vannie Cook Children’s Cancer Clinic. As a college and law student, I would volunteer at the Christmas parties Friends for Hope would host for the clinic’s patients. Coming full circle and being President of this organization is humbling and motivating.


 Our organization consists of passionate individuals from the Upper Rio Grande Valley dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the lives of local children with cancer. Our mission is to raise lifesaving, essential funds for the Vannie E. Cook, Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic, to provide valuable volunteer support to the clinic staff, and to raise awareness about the clinic and the needs of its brave young patients.


Every dollar we raise will be donated to the Vannie Cook Children’s Clinic, where approximately 12,000 children from South Texas have been treated and not one has been turned away due to their inability to pay. In addition to donating almost $3,000,000 to the clinic, Friends for Hope hosts various fun events throughout the year to help patients and their families during these trying times.


On behalf of our Board, we want to thank our community leaders, business owners, partners, contributors, volunteers, and friends for what they have meant to us, our pediatric cancer community, Friends for Hope, and me, both personally and professionally.  Our vision is simple– to lead with passion, conviction, compassion and to help spearhead the growth of this organization.


Together, we can create a positive and lasting impact that reaches far beyond the walls of our clinic, leaving a legacy of hope, support, and camaraderie. We know that with you, we are in good company.


We hope you will join us in making a difference in the lives of these young warriors. With your support, we can ensure that the clinic has the tools necessary to continue to provide the best care and treatment available for our local children affected by cancer and blood diseases.


I remain grateful, humbled, and inspired.



Kristen L. Vela
Friends for Hope

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop