“For 20 years, City of Hope has been my second home. City of Hope is such a life-giving place that all of us who are treated there can be nothing but blessed by what we experience. It’s why I have included City of Hope as a beneficiary of my living trust.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and was told by the first specialist I consulted that I had only months to live. But I learned about City of Hope, and when I walked in the door, a team of doctors had already reviewed my case and then spent most of a day with me discussing my options.
I began six months of aggressive treatment, including a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant. Before even finishing my radiation treatment, I also managed to complete law school, which I had started as a single mom at age 50 after my sons were grown.
I am fortunate to have a strong family unit — my sister, brother, sons and now my six grandchildren. I have a strong faith and close friends at church who supported me in prayer and in many practical ways. But because of City of Hope, I was able to carry on with my life and teach law classes for almost 20 years.
In 2017, I had a recurrence of cancer and I’ve remained under City of Hope’s care. Receiving immunotherapy instead of chemotherapy has made it possible for me to live a more or less normal life. I really don’t think about having cancer much at all. Treatment is an ongoing journey.
Giving back is important to me. I am a member of the Legacy of Hope Society as I have included City of Hope in my estate plans as the beneficiary of an investment property. It was a family decision. My son told me, “Giving this property to City of Hope speaks to what your heart wants.” I amended my living trust and proceeds from the sale of the house will go to City of Hope.
I am also a proud member of Circle 1500, a group of women who fund breakthrough women’s cancers research at City of Hope. We funded four leading-edge pilot research studies last year. Half of the gift to City of Hope in my trust will be allocated to Circle 1500.
Because of City of Hope, I beat all the odds and carried on with my life, my career and my family. They have always treated me as a whole person at every level. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the people working in the coffee shop or the doctors or the multitudinous people that got involved in my case. Giving back is the best way I can think of to show my gratitude and help others, and I hope you will join me in supporting City of Hope now and for the future.”