Irving Couple Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Gift to Hospital

Chan and Surekha Patel donated $2 million to the Baylor Scott & White Irving Foundation, the largest contribution in history

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This year Chan and Surekha Patel celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a special gift, not to each other, but to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Irving, donating $2 million.

"I get more satisfaction than the person who received it," Chan Patel said. "I always thought the best place to give something back is the community in which you live."

Patel was 37 years old when he had his first of two heart attacks.

"I still remember that day," Chan Patel said.

"When I saw him in the hospital, I thought you know, this is it. I'll be by myself," Surekha Patel said.

After a second heart attack a few years later, a nurse at Baylor Scott & White-Irving gave Patel a book about heart health that helped him change his life.

"After that, we followed the proper diet and exercise, and with God's grace, he made it," Patel said. "And he's doing great! He may hit 100 years, maybe."

The Patels married 50 years ago, but it was not love at first sight.

"That is after marriage," Surekha Patel said. "We had a semi-arranged marriage," Chan Patel explained.

The couple did fall in love, and credit their 50-year marriage, in part, to making health a priority.

"So I should take care of my health for her and she should take care of her health for me," Chan Patel said. "You know, there is a saying that marriages are made in heaven, but the maintenance is done on earth."

The Patels made their donation to the hospital to be used for cardiac care. They hope it will give others like Patel the chance to live longer, healthier lives.

"So that's my reward, I guess. It's not like writing a check for the income tax," Chan Patel said laughing.

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