“There were limited options for people diagnosed with cancer in Massachusetts in 2000,” said Charlie Baker, governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, before a full house at the 26th annual Dana-Farber Society (DFS) Recognition Dinner June 2.
Gov. Baker was the keynote speaker for the event, held at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, to honor DFS members: a special group of individuals who have included a gift to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund in their wills and estate plans.
“The amount of progress that’s been made in 16 years with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute leading the way is really miraculous,” Gov. Baker said. “People now have so much more available to them, when they didn’t have hope in 2000. You’ve supported a very important journey.”
The evening was a celebration of the progress in cancer research and patient care made possible by the generosity of DFS members, and also an occasion to reflect on Dana-Farber’s achievements under the 16-year leadership of retiring Institute President and CEO Edward J. Benz Jr., MD. Dr. Benz and his wife, Margaret Vettese, PhD, RN, have been DFS members since 2003.
“What Dr. Benz has accomplished at Dana-Farber—with your help—is a statement about his leadership style and spectacular bedside manner,” Gov. Baker continued.
Dr. Benz noted that the increasing advancements made to help manage or cure cancers once thought incurable is only possible with the support of donors and DFS members. Federal funds have been declining for many years, but philanthropy lets Dana-Farber explore scientific opportunities that are expanding every day.
“We couldn’t dream these dreams and then pursue them without philanthropic support,” said Dr. Benz.
Gifts from DFS members have supported Dana-Farber’s patient care and research initiatives since 1990. The group began with 90 members and now includes more than 960 people from around the world. Though much has been accomplished, there is still more work to be done and support through the DFS allow Dana-Farber teams to test out-of-the-box ideas and build collaborations, said Dr. Benz.
“Someday we will write the history of how cancer was conquered and you will play a prominent role in that book,” he said.
Jennifer Skala Bodio
Assistant Director, Development Communications