A Survivor's Gift
The first thought I had when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and four different tumors was, “Will I live to see my children graduate middle school?”
It was late 2012, and I was a single mother of 11-year-old twins in New York City. I was also running my own small business, which was just taking off when I learned I had cancer.
I soon learned that the doctors at my first hospital had failed to detect the cancer, despite months of regular checkups and screenings.
I was devastated, angry—and scared. It was the lowest point of my life—I just sat at home and watched TV. I went through five seasons of Breaking Bad with my dog that winter.
But my worries diminished immediately after my first consultation at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
The doctors, nurses, and staff didn’t waste a moment planning my treatment. And when we discovered I was allergic to one of my chemotherapy drugs, my doctors had three back-up plans ready, because MSK has all the research and clinical trials right there.
It just was so clear to me that I was in the place with the best research and the best cancer care.
My treatment was hard, but at MSK I never felt alone. My team stayed on top of every detail through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. I was awed by their expertise—and their warmth and kindness.
Today, I am cancer-free and busy touring colleges with my twins. My son, Alex, is introspective, with a passion for history and Mandarin. My daughter Juliane is expressive, with a talent for poetry and art.
I also bought a house in the city of my dreams: Charleston, South Carolina. It’s such a wonderful, vibrant place; I plan to move there permanently once the kids are out of the house.
I have new plans for my company, too. Beatrix New York, which produces cute backpacks for children, will soon have an exciting back-to-school relaunch.
In the years since my treatment, I see the world differently: in my life after cancer, I cherish every small, beautiful moment. I want to make sure others have the chance to enjoy those moments, too.
That’s why I donate to Memorial Sloan Kettering each year—and have included MSK in my estate plans. I know it will lead to more lifesaving treatments for people just like me all over the country. And I want to help.
For me, a bequest to Memorial Sloan Kettering is a way to guarantee that people with cancer will receive the help they need for years to come. I know firsthand how important that can be.
After everything I’ve been through, I’m certain: I want saving lives to be a part of my legacy.
By Claire Theobald
Advance MSK Breakthroughs With a Gift
When you include MSK in your will or other estate plans, you help our experts make significant progress in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Contact the Office of Gift Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-688-1827 for details or to notify us of your gift.