Newswise — EL PASO, Texas — Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, along with Steve Fox, his wife, Nancy, and their daughters Paige and Ashley, announced today a historic $25 million investment that will support a future comprehensive cancer center to be constructed on the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso campus.

Steve Fox is president and chief executive officer of Fox Auto Team, a group of car dealerships based in El Paso. The Fox family’s gift will support clinical trials, research and recruitment of world-class physicians, nurses and researchers to the center. Steve Fox is a cancer warrior who battled stage 4 tongue and neck cancer over 22 years ago.

To honor the Fox family’s commitment to transform cancer care for our entire Borderplex region, the center will be named the Steve and Nancy Fox Cancer Center.

"When you have the diagnosis of cancer, what you want is the best possible outcome, which is to be cured,” Steve Fox said. “You know in your mind, in your heart, that often times the best treatment option is not in El Paso. You end up having to travel, which is very difficult. Sometimes your work doesn't allow you to go. You have a wife at home with small children. It compounds the stress of fighting cancer. What you want to know is that you're receiving world-class care. We're working on that with the new cancer center in El Paso and I'm optimistic that we'll deliver, for the vast majority of cancer patients, world-class care. I truly believe that.”

Steve Fox has relentlessly advocated for comprehensive cancer care in our community, having served on the board of the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation and MD Anderson’s Board of Visitors and Advance Team. The dream of a cancer center for El Paso became a reality earlier this year when the Texas legislature approved a $65 million appropriation in the 2024-2025 state budget for planning and building the center.

The Fox Cancer Center will consolidate outpatient services such as cancer imaging, treatment, research and clinical trials, and outreach programs under one umbrella.

"We stand at the threshold of a momentous chapter in our university's and our community’s history as we embark on a transformative journey to create a cutting-edge cancer center,” said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “This endeavor exemplifies our unwavering commitment to advancing knowledge, extending compassion, and fostering hope for families in our Borderplex. With a dedication to innovative research, multidisciplinary collaboration, and patient-centered care, our vision for the cancer center is to be a beacon of progress in the fight against cancer. I am deeply grateful to Steve and Nancy Fox for transforming dreams into reality by helping to bring this cancer center to life. Together, we'll bring forth a brighter, healthier future for our community and beyond, as we embark on a mission to conquer cancer, one discovery at a time.”

Today’s gift announcement at the TTUHSC El Paso campus drew a celebratory crowd of over 200, including many leaders from El Paso’s health care community and long-time supporters of the university. Texas Tech University System Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., President Lange, and Woody L. Hunt, senior chairman of the board for Hunt Companies, Inc., were among the guest speakers at the event.

Cancer and the Hispanic Population

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Hispanic population, and addressing health care disparities in this area is critical, particularly when it comes to research. In El Paso, which has an 83% Hispanic population, there is an annual average of 395 cancer cases per 100,000 Hispanics, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s trending above Texas’ average of 346 cases per 100,000.

In the U.S., Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority group, and due to their sheer numbers, this group is expected to face a 142% rise in cancer cases in coming years, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Research discoveries at the Fox Cancer Center will help lessen the impact of this trend.

It’s estimated that Hispanics make up less than 4% of participants in cancer research and clinical trials, a disparity that may hinder improved treatments and treatment outcomes for this population. With its location in our Borderplex, the cancer center is expected to help close that gap by increasing Hispanic participation in research and clinical trials.

Genesis of Dream to Help Cancer Patients

With a comprehensive cancer center in El Paso, Borderplex patients will no longer have to bear the cost and hardship of traveling out of town for treatment. They’ll also remain close to family and friends to support them through treatment and recovery.

Bringing a cancer center to El Paso has been Steve Fox’s dream for more than 20 years.

“Three of the scariest words you’ll ever hear are, ‘you have cancer.’ It was a very difficult journey in the beginning," Steve Fox said. “One of the things I learned early on is there’s disparity in cancer care, and even if you have the ability to travel for treatment, it’s still very, very hard. It became obvious to me there was a big disparity in cancer care here in El Paso.”

The stress, sleepless nights, travel and overnight stays for treatment were a tremendous burden for the Fox family both physically and emotionally. During these tough times, they discussed how the experience could help pave the way for a better future for all cancer patients in our Borderplex.

"We thought, ‘how can we play a part in improving cancer care in El Paso?’” Steve Fox said. “It's one of the reasons that motivated us to help bring a cancer center here. When you're fighting cancer, it’s very emotional because there's no place like home. With all the other stress you have going on, if you can be with your family and be in your own bed, that's such a blessing.”

Since recovering from cancer, Steve Fox has talked to hundreds of patients about their diagnosis and treatment options. With the perspective he gained from his own experience, he’s inspired to help other patients through one of the worst times in their lives. He sees the cancer center as the next step in a mission of delivering healing and hope to others.

Cancer is a Family Journey

Ashley Fox vividly remembers the day she learned of her father’s cancer diagnosis.

“I was 11. My dad met the doctor outside, and I could hear my dad say, ‘it's not good news,’” she said. “When you're a child, that sounded like a death sentence: He has cancer. I'm going to lose my dad.”

During the course of his treatment, Steve Fox underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Fortunately, Steve Fox’s cancer journey had a happy ending. The helplessness that Ashley felt was eventually replaced by hope.

“I didn't know all the different treatments and everything out there,” Ashley Fox recalled. “At the time I didn’t know you can fight cancer, and you can overcome it.”

Paige Fox said her father's illness had a profound impact on their family, particularly on her mother, Nancy Fox.

"My dad was the one who was sick, but she had to step into the role of being father and mother,” Paige Fox said. “My sister and I had to grow up emotionally. Sometimes we were lost, and it was a struggle for us."

Nancy Fox recalled the emotions she felt when she left her daughters at home with babysitters while traveling out of town with Steve for his treatment, and her efforts to prevent disruptions in her family’s day-to-day routines. Despite the hardships, she was determined to maintain a sense of normalcy for her daughters.

"I had to keep up the normal life so the girls wouldn’t be afraid. I put on my cheerful face and kept going with God's help,” Nancy Fox said.

Steve Fox pointed out the all-encompassing nature of cancer's impact on families and the importance of having a support network. He's proud the new cancer center will allow families to remain together during treatment.

“It really ends up being a ‘family disease.’ You may be the cancer patient, but it affects everybody. It affects your wife, your children, your friends, and your coworkers," Steve Fox said.

A History of Giving

For decades, the Fox family, through the Fox Family Foundation, has prioritized helping others in our Borderplex region through many community initiatives and events.

As teenagers, Ashley and Paige Fox would go with their parents to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to distribute food to families in need.

"The van would honk a horn, and literally a football field-sized line of people gathered just for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and powdered milk for their children,” Ashley Fox recalled. “There was an overwhelming sense of, ‘How can we do more?’”

For years, the Fox family also has supported Proyecto Santo Niño, an organization based in the underserved Juárez colonia of Anapra that helps special-needs children. Through the Fox Family Foundation and with matching funds from Fundación Paso del Norte Para La Salud y Bienstar in Juárez, the Fox family donated a handicapped accessible van to ensure special-needs children and their parents have safe, reliable transportation to and from Proyecto Santo Niño.

And last year, in just over a month’s time, the Fox Auto Team raised funds for student scholarships at TTUHSC El Paso’s Hunt School of Nursing. The campaign – known as “10 for 10” in a nod to the university’s 10-year anniversary – raised $10,000 for 10 $1,000 nursing scholarships.

After years of supporting various initiatives and organizations, the Fox family's dedication to making a positive impact in our Borderplex region continues to grow.

“For the past 45 years El Paso has been my home and I love this community. I love the people of this community and this community has blessed us,” Steve Fox said. “Being able to repay some of these blessings to our community is such a gift for us. El Paso needs to be the cornerstone it is and I'm very proud of where we're going with this community.”

About Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

TTUHSC El Paso is the only health sciences center on the U.S.-Mexico border and serves 108 counties in West Texas that have been historically underserved. It’s a designated Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution, preparing the next generation of health care heroes, 48% of whom identify as Hispanic and are often first-generation students. Established as an independent university in the Texas Tech University System in 2013, TTUHSC El Paso is celebrating 10 years as a proudly diverse and uniquely innovative destination for education and research. According to a 2022 analysis, TTUHSC El Paso contributes $634.4 million annually to our Borderplex region’s economy. With a mission of eliminating health care barriers and creating life-changing educational opportunities for Borderplex residents, TTUHSC El Paso has graduated over 2,000 doctors, nurses and researchers over the past decade, and will add dentists to its alumni beginning in 2025. For more information, visit