Playing "The Cancer Card" by collecting and distributing gift cards to cancer patients – 6,368 gifts to date


My name is Emily Tickle Thomas and I had cancer. I was first diagnosed with oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in 2007 while pregnant with my 4th son.
I was referred to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas by my doctor in Memphis. I have had several surgeries at MD Anderson and still return there for checkups regularly.

On that first trip to Houston, friends arranged for a gift card to be waiting for us at a popular Mexican restaurant, Pappasitos, in Houston.
For good luck, we have eaten there on every subsequent visit to Houston. To this day, that simple gesture of kindness and generosity stands out
in my mind more than any of the years’ worth of biopsies, scans and doctor’s appointments. Today, I am a healthy wife and mother to 4 sons.
My hope is that through The Cancer Card Xchange, other cancer patients will have a bright spot to remember from their journey.

CCX Board

Joel Thomas is a Partner and the Chief Financial Officer at Montgomery Martin Contractors, LLC.  In addition to helping found the CCX, he is responsible for all of its financial reporting.  Joel is currently on the Board of Directors of the West Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builder’s and Contractors and has previously served as its Chairman.

Jennifer Alpard is a Physicians Assistant in the Head and Neck Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
She and her husband Scott also created The Cade R. Alpard Foundation for Pediatric Liver Disease in 2003 in honor of their son.
Jennifer was part of Emily Thomas’ medical team at MD Anderson. She is a dedicated runner who uses her passion for marathon running for heartfelt fundraising.

Laura Barnett is dedicated to serving the Memphis community as much as she is to her husband, Sam, and their 11 year old triplets.
She is an active volunteer in her church, her children’s school as well as the LeBonheur Club which supports LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

Mike Carpenter is the Executive Director of the Plough Foundation. Mike is also a former Shelby County Commissioner and past Executive Director
of the West Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. Mike and his wife Mary Ann have four children.

Dr. Dean Klug, a respected physician with Midsouth Ear Nose and Throat in Memphis, was part of Emily Thomas’ medical team during her cancer treatment and has also treated
her 4 children. Dr. Klug received his M.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1988. He is Board certified with The American Board of Otolaryngology/ Head and Neck Surgery.

Lee Still is a Senior Vice President at Sun Trust Bank in Memphis. He takes an active role in working to make the Memphis community better through his involvement
at his family’s church, Chair of the Small Business Council of the Greater Memphis Chamber and as the Chairman of the Board of the Memphis Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Debbie Jones is a graduate of Union University and has a MBA from Christian Brothers University. She worked in transportation for 14 years. In 2002, she
established a non-profit management firm after becoming a mom of 4 (including a set of triplets). Debbie currently works with the Financial Planners Association
and Charter Financial Analysts chapters in Memphis. And she hates cancer.