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Tony Markel

Although Tony Markel’s connection to City of Hope started through his business, it grew deeply personal — inspiring him to become National Insurance Industry Council Challenge Leader.

After helping to build the family business, Markel Corp., into one of the largest property and casualty insurance companies in the U.S., he became involved with City of Hope in 2006 when the National Insurance Industry Council honored him with the Spirit of Life® Award.

Then, in 2007, doctors diagnosed Markel’s wife, Sue, with ovarian cancer. Although she received treatment near their home in Virginia, they sought counsel from experts at City of Hope, including Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer. They were so impressed that they established the Markel/Friedman Fund for Research into Ovarian/Peritoneal Tumors at City of Hope to boost investigations into the disease.

“When cancer touches your life, it brings home the importance of research to defeat this disease,” Markel said. “City of Hope has amazing potential for breakthroughs against cancer, so I’m proud to support its mission.”

Sadly, Sue Markel died in 2008. When asked to serve as the National Insurance Industry Council Challenge Leader, Tony Markel was quick to accept. He is an energetic advocate, travelling across the country to spread the word and raise funds.

“City of Hope has the chance to make progress like never before, and I want to do everything I can to help, so other women won’t have to go through what Sue did,” said Markel.