Bridgeland resident helps raise nearly $600,000 to fight cancer
[Oct. 22, 2020: David Taylor]
Audrey Melton felt like she had ulcers in her stomach.
A trip to the doctor was warranted, and the news was devastating.
“They did a biopsy, and it was in her stomach, had spread to her liver and in her lymph nodes,” said an emotional Heath Melton as he remembered his mother’s cancer diagnosis.
The 65-year-old was already in Stage Four when she learned the tragic news. She died in November of 2015.
“It was a short fight. I lost my mom four months after she was diagnosed,” Melton said tearfully.
Since then, Melton, who works in The Woodlands and lives in Bridgeland, has made a difference in the fight against cancer. He has raised nearly $600,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in just five years.
His journey started a couple of months after the funeral when Melton, a new employee for the Howard Hughes Corp., found himself at a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“Sitting at the table I listened to an inspiring program. The energy in the room was electric with these folks who wanted to fight cancer,” he said.
Melton was all in.
“They were passing around these little blood drops asking people to sign up. I honestly had no clue what I was signing up for, but I signed up for the executive challenge. I thought it would be a great way to honor my mother,” he said.
It was tough and the emotion was still raw. Her death was fresh in his mind. The baby of the family with two older brothers, Melton had a very close relationship with his mom and it hit him hard. He had also just accepted the position at Howard Hughes.
With his commitment to the executive challenge, he found out he would have to raise $5,000.
“I thought I could do that,” he said.
He raised $14,300 that first year in 2016, despite being new to the area and not knowing much about the event.
His second year, he knew more and raised more — $50,000.
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“In year three, in 2018, I raised $114,000 and was No. 5 in the nation for executive challengers,” he said.
Last year, he blew the lid off, and raised $187,000 and was No. 3 in the nation. This year, he’s on pace to raise between $215,000 to $230,000.
His mom would be proud of her son, the Bridgeland resident said.
“I couldn’t do it without the great support of our business partners, friends, and family that get behind such a great cause,” he said.
The former West Point graduate has now served on the board for the Montgomery County Light The Night for three years and was recently asked to serve on the Texas Gulf Coast LLS board. This year he will chair the Houston and Montgomery Executive Challenge for Light The Night walk events.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
Melton wanted his community Bridgeland to be involved with the event and tied it with the annual Fall Giving Campaign, which was previously held during the Spring until the pandemic.
During September, for every home that was sold in Bridgeland and The Woodland Hills, the company donated $500 to a charity.
“New homebuyers are able to select one of five charities for us to donate the funds to,” he said.
“A person who’s buying a house, that’s one of the biggest decisions they make in their lives and from their standpoint it’s life-changing. This is another way for them to select something to give back to others in the community in a meaningful way that helps change and impact their lives,” Melton said.
This year, he said 100 percent of the partner builders participated along with a number of their realtors.
He also reached out to his other friends in the industry and enticed them to join the cause.
Both Bridgeland and The Woodlands Hills are now connected with the LLS family and for Melton, it holds a deep significance.
“We’re having a great year. We raised over $90,000 for those charities. They have been so heavily impacted because of the coronavirus pandemic,” Melton said.
They made the announcements of the monetary awards to not only Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), but also to Cy-Fair Educational Foundation, HomeAid Houston, Montgomery County Food Bank and YES to YOUTH.
The Fall Giving Campaign was birthed out of HHCares, The Howard Hughes Corporation’s corporate social responsibility program that uses “community-focused philanthropy as a guiding principle through financial donations and volunteerism,” a press release announced.
Since its early beginnings, the corporation has provided support and financial assistance to at least 130 causes through local non-profits annually.
Melton said the originally planned Spring campaign was postponed due to Covid-19.
“It was a good thing because the charities wouldn’t have seen the same benefit. Home sales that month were not at their peak,” he said.
They sold 90 homes in September, 66 in Bridgeland and 24 in The Woodland Hills. During the summer they averaged more than 100 homes per month.
This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of The Houston Chronicle.