Between her volunteer activities and her professional life as a multimillion dollar producer with the El Paso real estate firm Sandy Messer and Associates, Sue Woo rarely has time to watch television. But on the night of Nov. 7, 2007, Woo was glued to the TV set as local election results were announced.
Would voters approve a children’s hospital for El Paso?
“A group of us had worked very hard on this issue,” Woo said. “When we heard that the proposal passed, the room exploded with cheers. Finally, parents with critically ill kids wouldn’t have to leave town for some medical procedures.”
Woo and her physician husband Douglas know what it’s like to have a child with a life-threatening illness. In 1984, their son Kevin was diagnosed with a rare pineal tumor.
“There wasn’t a facility or a physician in Texas, let alone El Paso, who could provide the treatment that Kevin needed,” Woo said. “We took him to a top neurosurgeon at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.”
After several anxious months, the Woo family got the happy ending they’d prayed for. Kevin made a full recovery. But Sue Woo never forgot the families who weren’t as
“I don’t know if you can use the wordy lucky when you’re talking about pediatric cancer, but we were lucky,” Woo said. “We could afford to take our son to the specialist that offered him the best chance for survival. Many parents can’t.
“It made me realize just how much El Paso needed its own children’s
For the next 13 years, Woo worked tirelessly with other community leaders who shared her vision. But her work didn’t end with the hospital groundbreaking in 2009. As chair of the University Medical Center Foundation, Woo is now leading the fundraising campaign for the new hospital. She approaches this project with the same dedication and enthusiasm that she gives to all of her volunteer activities – whether it’s serving as president-elect of the El Paso Symphony, raising money in support of the Holocaust Museum, or serving on the advisory board for the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
Woo’s daughter, El Paso realtor Jennifer Woo, is following in her footsteps.
“Jennifer chose her own career; I just gave her the advice I would give any young woman: find a profession that you love, because life is too short to spend your time on anything else,” Woo said. “I’m also proud of Jennifer for her volunteer service. When you support an organization, you’re helping shape the future of your community.”