|Personal values spur leukemia research
Charles DeVault held his values dear. He believed in hard work. He believed in helping others. And he believed in science.
So DeVault, of Los Angeles, planned his estate to ensure that the fruits of his hard work would benefit others by supporting scientific research. The resulting bequest recently provided more than $1 million to advance leukemia investigations at City of Hope.
After three decades working in the telephone industry, DeVault retired in 1987 and devoted his time to the activities he loved — reading, sailing, hiking and distance running.
His close friend, Kathleen Jolly of Monrovia, Calif., met him in 1995 through a shared passion: Sierra Club hikes. She quickly discovered he was always eager to help others.
“If somebody wasn’t back at the end of the hike, he was always the guy who was willing — and strong enough — to hike back up and help them down,” she said.
Jolly had recently completed the Los Angeles Marathon when they met, and DeVault soon began training for the marathon himself. A mid-pack runner, he completed the marathon 10 times starting in 1996.
Uncharacteristically out of breath during a 2008 hike, DeVault consulted a doctor. Ultimately, he sought help from City of Hope and received a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia.
Margaret O’Donnell, M.D., clinical professor and associate clinical director in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, oversaw his care. The patient and his physician established a quick rapport.
“Dr. O’Donnell was the perfect doctor for Chuck,” said Jolly. “She understood him, and he immediately trusted her. Dr. O made all the difference for him.”
DeVault died in May 2010 at age 71. Jolly noted that O’Donnell helped him get the most out of the two years he lived after diagnosis.
DeVault left little doubt about where he wanted his contribution to go. “The only thing he considered was research,” Jolly said. “That was what he believed in.”