Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on January 5, 2012

Labels: China

Project HOPE is supported by thousands of dedicated donors that make our lifesaving health education and humanitarian assistance programs around the world possible.  And in that group of devoted philanthropists, a young 30-year-old Ian Hanks stands out. 

A Wesleyan graduate and a Princeton in Asia scholar, Ian found his passion in life early. From Austin, Texas, Ian moved to China six years ago to learn, work and help others. 

Through his company that he founded with his brother Roger, The Hanks Brothers Chinese Trading Company, Ian dedicated 20 percent of his company’s profits to Project HOPE in order to provide lifesaving heart surgery to children at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center.  

Over the years, The Hanks Brothers funds have provided surgery for seven children that otherwise would not have been able to afford the surgeries. 

Not only did Ian provide the needed funds to pay for the surgeries, he also made a point to connect with every child he helped, visiting with each family before the children left the hospital. 

Ian passed away on December 23, after a long battle with brain cancer.  

His passing is an unfathomable loss to those who knew him, yet Ian’s focus on helping others is a reminder of the need to make a difference in whatever time we have in this world. His legacy lives on in the children’s lives he helped save. 

Thank you for your example Ian.


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