An anonymous benefactor has pledged $10 million to support City of Hope. Leaders will apply the gift to support construction of an expanded radiation oncology center.
|W. Rod Stern facilitated a $10 million gift. (Photo courtesy Karina Pires Photography)|
The gift demonstrates the far-reaching impact of a simple gesture of kindness.
Its story begins with W. Rod Stern, J.D., an Irvine, Calif.-based lawyer who facilitated the contribution from a client. A senior partner with Murtaugh Meyer Nelson & Treglia LLP, Stern practices estate and tax law. His mother, Ruth Stern Greenberg, journeyed to City of Hope in 2007 for help in her battle against cancer. In the months she underwent therapy, City of Hope’s compassionate care brightened her outlook.
“Visiting City of Hope would be the highlight of her week,” he said. “From the smiles that greeted her at the front curb to the kindness that took her through every step of the process — she would talk about it and smile like she hadn’t smiled in months.”
Stern pinpointed one moment in particular that epitomized his mother’s experience. When Greenberg arrived for her first appointment, she found herself shivering from cold, and a volunteer walking by in the midst of another task paused and fetched her a warm blanket.
“Mom swore that that blanket must have been fresh out of the dryer. The fact that someone just passing by would take the time and find her more than a blanket — practically a blanket of life that brought her warmth — it just touched her. She talked about that for months afterward,” Stern said.
Ultimately, his mother lost her fight with cancer. Yet her time at City of Hope left a strong impression on her family. In keeping with her wishes, Stern and his two brothers gave $100,000 to City of Hope in honor of their mother. Sherrie Vamos, senior gift planning officer, worked with Stern to craft a gift that satisfied their objectives.
Through his practice, Stern met with a client who wanted to support an organization committed to cancer treatment and research. He assembled a portfolio of cancer-related organizations, including City of Hope, and told her of his family’s experiences. When the client requested a site visit, Stern turned to Vamos, who made arrangements for them to tour the medical center campus and meet senior leadership. This experience helped cement the donor’s decision.
Said Stern: “On the drive home, she just said, ‘This is the right decision. Let’s make it happen.’ I don’t think my mom’s story made her decide all by itself, but getting a little bit of firsthand review of how a family felt about City of Hope certainly reinforced how she felt.”
The expanded radiation oncology facility, scheduled for completion in November, nearly quadruples space devoted to clinical treatment as City of Hope’s current center. The new area, located in the northwest section of the Main Medical Building, will include space for the most advanced, imaging-guided radiation therapy equipment. Radiation therapists use advanced imaging technology to guide machines so they deliver radiation precisely to cancerous tissue, potentially increasing the therapy’s effectiveness and reducing its side effects.