Hilaire & Ethel Lanaux Honor Granddaughter with Transformational Gift to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

Funds to enhance prevention, education and early detection programs across south Louisiana


(Covington, LA) No one ever wants to imagine losing a child or grandchild, but one family is honoring their granddaughter’s courageous cancer battle by creating a lasting legacy that will help others for generations to come. New Orleans residents Hilaire and Ethel Lanaux sorely miss their granddaughter Hillary Lanaux, who was 20-years-old when she passed away in 2001 due to an aggressive soft-tissue sarcoma. To help save lives and honor their granddaughter and her caregivers, the Lanauxs have made a transformational donation to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to fund prevention, education and early detection services in Covington, Houma and parishes in the surrounding areas. Their goal for the gift, which is one of the largest gifts ever received across the state for cancer education and early detection, is to lessen the number of lives cut short by cancer and decrease the number of families devastated by losing loved ones.

Hillary’s mother, Hilda Lanaux, said Dr. Jack Saux, a Northshore Oncology Associates physician, and the other clinicians on her daughter’s team were pleasant, warm professionals who offered the absolute best care for her daughter. Hilaire, Hillary’s grandfather, is also being cared for by Dr. Saux. He has been under Dr. Saux’s care for 17 years and the Lanaux family has come to love the physician as a caregiver and adopted family member.

“This gift from my parents is really an offering to the community in honor of Dr. Saux and everyone who cared for Hilllary, and for those now caring for my father,” said Hilda Lanaux. “Hillary was a leader and was extremely empathetic to the plights of others. I know she would be so proud of how her grandparents’ gift will touch so many people.”

Ethel Lanaux said that her granddaughter showed incredible bravery and had the support of many friends and family members who were by her side as she fought cancer, especially her aunt Claudia Lanaux Merrick, who took Hillary into her home for skilled nursing care during her illness.

“Hillary was a people person and was president of her class in both her junior and senior years in high school. She was a mover and a shaker. While we don’t know how she would have impacted peoples’ lives in the future, she most certainly made the most of the short time she was with us. Our hope is that this gift in her name will help do the good that we know she would have done if she were still with us today.”

The transformational gift will fund prevention, education and early detection programs in the Covington and Houma areas where more than 3,500 people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Louisiana has the fourth highest cancer mortality rate in the nation, due mainly to lack of education and late stage cancer diagnoses. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances are for a positive outcome. Mary Bird Perkins’ mobile medical clinic, in partnership with St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Terrebonne General Medical Center, travels throughout the Covington and Houma areas and beyond screening people for breast, colorectal, skin, oral and prostate cancers.

“Our early detection and education team travels far and wide throughout the Covington and Houma areas to bring five types of cancer screenings to community members,” said Todd Stevens, president and chief operating officer, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “This generous donation from the Lanauxs is a beautiful tribute to Hillary and many lives will be saved because of this gift honoring their beloved granddaughter. It’s the generosity of people like the Lanauxs that make these services possible.”

Mary Bird Perkins is a key partner within St. Tammany Cancer Center in Covington and Mary Bird Perkins TGMC Cancer Center in Houma.


Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.marybird.org.