Partners in Life and in Survival

Hartwig and Dickeson

In 2000, Roy Hartwick (right) and Duane Dickeson (left) found themselves at the same neighborhood social event. They had each just recently moved to California — and the two have been together, in sickness and in health, ever since. And while they’ve faced their share of challenges, Duane says their time together has been “all fun.”

Roy, originally from Michigan, visited a family friend in California years ago, fell in love with the state and moved out as soon as he could. He retired after a long and varied career with the water district.

Duane was actually born in California, but moved with his family to Oregon before coming home for good. He served in the U.S. Army and had a career with the U.S. Postal Service.

In 2009, Roy was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although there were plenty of great doctors close to their home, Duane remembered his dear friend Hans Wehl had at one time looked ill, then “looked 40 years younger and thriving” just a few months later. Hans was treated at City of Hope. He and his wife, Sharon, have been Seattle chapter volunteer members, oversaw the City of Hope Seattle Thrift shop for many years and introduced so many in their area to the work being done on campus So, after Roy was diagnosed, Duane looked up his old friend and secured a referral.

“When you receive a cancer diagnosis, your whole world turns upside down,” Roy says. “You’re totally blindsided and not sure what to do. City of Hope made us feel better the moment we walked through the door. They assigned us a health advocate who was with us every step of the way.”

Little more than a year after Roy’s successful treatment at City of Hope, doctors discovered a very large, possibly cancerous polyp in Duane’s colon. Without any hesitation, the two men agreed that City of Hope was the best option for Duane’s care and treatment.

Roy and Duane share a strong faith in City of Hope. “Beyond the patient care, we’re impressed with the research that’s being done there,” say the men.

In December 2008, grandson Aiden Krasnoff, then 13, donated $2,000 to City of Hope’s Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. Grateful for his grandfather’s treatment, Aiden went above and beyond a family tradition that calls for young men to give 10 percent of their bar mitzvah money to charity.

Roy, an insulin-dependent diabetic for 41 years, notes that they both have family members with diabetes or other health issues. “City of Hope is making great strides in getting to the heart of these diseases and the best treatments,” he says. “That’s why we decided to leave City of Hope our estate when we’re gone.”

Adds Duane, “We found that at City of Hope, you’re not just a case number. The nurses, doctors and aides treat you like family. And, as part of the family, we wanted to leave resources to City of Hope so they can continue their important work for the next generation.”