Philanthropy has myriad motivations; there are as many reasons to give as there are causes in need of support. For Roger J. and Susan Gendron, the reasons are simple: first, their son Theodore is a recent graduate of the George Washington University (GW) School of Business, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration in May 2016; more significantly, however, Susan is a breast cancer survivor under the care of Robert Siegel, M.D. ’77, associate center director for education and training at the GW Cancer Center (GWCC) and professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS).
“Dr. Siegel is a miracle worker and has been a comforting source of healing and inspiration,” Susan says. She adds that her experiences at the GW Medical Faculty Associates and at GW Hospital were exceptional. “The staff, nurses, and physicians have made my journey much more bearable due to their compassionate care and professionalism.”
In recognition of the treatment Susan received from Siegel, the couple made a $2.5 million gift to GWCC to establish the Gendron Family Cancer Research Fund. The fund will support basic and translational science research, as well as contribute to pilot research grants for residents and fellows. “Giving back is our way of saying thank you,” Susan says.
“We’re bringing innovative research to areas in need,” explains Eduardo M. Sotomayor, M.D., director of GWCC, director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and professor of medicine at SMHS. “We are not just repeating what other cancer centers are doing — we’re coming with our own set of unique ideas.”
Thanks to the Gendron family’s gift, he adds, the opportunities for collaboration around pilot funding resources will blossom, “dramatically increasing our capacity to impact both cancer research and clinical care.”