Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

Cancer has been an unfortunate fact of 86‐year‐old Henry Reichner’s life since he lost his mother to breast cancer when he was just eight years old.

Memorial Sloan Kettering monthly donor, Henry Reichner

His older sister, Ruth, cared for their mother during her illness. When, at the end of her life, she slipped into a coma, Ruth called their family doctor to report it. “That’s what happens when you have terminal cancer,” the doctor replied. Ruth was shocked. Although she had been caring for five years for a beloved parent who was clearly ill, no one had told her the name of the disease.

“Back then, cancer was considered a curse,” Mr. Reichner explains. “You didn’t speak the word. Even my father didn’t say anything. We’ve come a long way since then.”

Beginning in 1976, Mr. Reichner, an attorney, decided that he needed to help further cancer research and treatment and determined that Memorial Sloan Kettering would receive his support. “I felt it was my duty to promote cancer research,” he says, “and I knew Memorial’s reputation for cutting-edge research and high-quality patient care.” He began with a modest five-dollar donation and has never stopped giving: A dedicated supporter for nearly 40 years, the amount of his support has increased over time.

Cancer Gets Even More Personal

Mr. Reichner has had his own struggles with cancer — first with prostate cancer and, later, with colorectal cancer. He has made a full recovery from both.

Then, more recently, his 20‐year‐old granddaughter, a student at Johns Hopkins University, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. The disease, first described at Memorial Sloan Kettering in 1921 by pathologist James Ewing, is a rare cancer that involves the bone as well as the soft tissue. Because Ewing's sarcoma has a higher incidence in children than adults, it is considered a pediatric cancer. Mr. Reichner’s granddaughter was successfully treated by a multidisciplinary medical team in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Department of Pediatrics and expects to resume her studies after the summer.

“The Most Important Investment I Ever Made"

My support of Memorial Sloan Kettering has been the most important investment I’ve ever made,” Mr. Reichner says. “Our entire family is so grateful that the physicians had the expertise to treat my granddaughter’s complex cancer. They are why we went to Memorial. We will be indebted to them forever, and to this wonderful institution.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering is also in Henry Reichner’s debt. Paradoxically, while the opportunities in cancer research have never been greater, resources are increasingly difficult to obtain — and research progress demands constant and reliable funding.

Without the regular support of donors like Mr. Reichner, the advances in treatment made possible by world-class research — advances that surely saved his granddaughter’s life — would be severely curtailed. Dependable, consistent supporters allow us to fund pioneering research and bring the most promising treatments to patients without delay.

Henry Reichner began his support of Memorial Sloan Kettering 40 years ago with five dollars. But small beginnings can inspire and sustain great achievements. Please consider joining Mr. Reichner and becoming a monthly donor to Memorial Sloan Kettering. Any amount you can afford will help us further the research that will save the lives of so many more.