A Wife’s Memory Inspires Commitment

Barry Tyson gives to City of Hope in memory of his first wife, Maureen, who died of breast cancer in 1993. She was not treated at City of Hope. In fact, Barry wonders whether things would have been different if she had been. “She might have still died,” he explains, “but we wouldn’t have endured the stress of looking for another doctor, another opinion, another medical exam. I’ve seen so many people spend their last precious time looking for the next treatment. I know now that, at City of Hope, they would have been looking on our behalf.”

First diagnosed in 1983 while living in Phoenix, a career move brought the Tysons back to California where Maureen fought cancer valiantly for another eight years. After Maureen’s death, Barry was introduced to City of Hope by two friends who had started a chapter in Palos Verdes, California, to support City of Hope. His involvement grew. He eventually served as president of the chapter for the past eight years, continuing on to today.

Over the years, Barry’s commitment to City of Hope has deepened. Because Maureen’s mother also died of breast cancer, Barry made sure his daughters were tested at City of Hope for genetic markers for the disease. Thankfully, both are fine. And Barry himself was treated successfully at City of Hope for prostate cancer using robotic surgery.

Maureen was a clinical social worker and during her cancer treatment, she counseled other women who had been diagnosed. She also worked with the children of parents who were battling cancer. In Maureen’s memory, Barry has donated funds to name a counseling office at the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center at City of Hope.

“If you need someone to talk to — if you’re scared, if your children are scared and you don’t want to die, and you don’t want to reveal all your fears to your spouse, the Biller Center will help you,” he says. “At City of Hope, the staff and the ability to talk to other patients make you feel like you’re not fighting this by yourself. You have a built-in support group.”

In addition to naming the counseling office, Barry has designated City of Hope for a percentage of his estate. “My kids are doing well, I have money already set aside for the grandkids’ college fund and most importantly, they understand and agree with the motivation for my gift.“ The need for money for advanced research is going up and the potential for finding cures is better than ever. I want to contribute to that next generation of discovery at City of Hope.

“Even if you never directly use the services at City of Hope,” he adds, “many benefit indirectly through research conducted there and shared with other hospitals. The use of treatments and therapies discovered at City of Hope is widespread. I can’t think of a more worthwhile investment in the future.”