We became involved with Dana-Farber in 1977, when it was still the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute, when Barbara was diagnosed at the age of 27, with Hodgkins Lymphoma. At that time, the adult and pediatric clinics were on the same floor, in what’s now the Dana Building.
While Barbara was waiting for her blood work one day, we could see the children in the Jimmy Fund Clinic, across the hall, running around, attached to their IV poles, laughing and having fun. Our “aha” moment came when we realized that we were feeling sorry for ourselves for the plight that we were experiencing, while we watched these three- and four-year olds who had just started their lives and were facing a life threatening experience. We vowed at that point, that when, not if, we got past our battle with cancer, that we would do everything in our power to defeat cancer, both in children and adults.
In 1978, Barbara, thankfully, went into remission with the incredible help of Dr. Donald Kufe and others, and we started on our journey to battle cancer. We became involved in the Western Massachusetts Jimmy Fund Council and started a Jimmy Fund golf tournament in 1980, with the help of our Jimmy Fund volunteers, that ran for 40 years, and raised almost $12 million. In addition, Barbara and our council friends started an event at Mt. Tom, in Holyoke, Mass., which transitioned into an incredibly successful Chefs for Jimmy event, which has been running for 30+ years.
Along with our Jimmy Fund volunteer fundraising efforts and plans for supporting Dana-Farber in our estate, we donate money to support the current needs of the Institute, as well. We have seen firsthand, over many years, the results of research and physician training that benefits patients around the globe. We have assisted countless friends and acquaintances to access care at the Dana-Farber over the years. All those people came back with stories about the excellent quality of care and the everyday compassion that the Dana-Farber nurses and doctors deliver to their patients.
Finally, we have both served as Trustees of Dana-Farber for over 20 years and we have been co-chairs of the Dana-Farber Society for ten years.