‘Spectacular’ care spurs bequest to defy cancer

For Andrea Abraham, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is like family. And just as her four grandchildren will carry on her memory for years to come, Andrea knows the importance of leaving a legacy for her Dana-Farber family, too. A trustee since 1989, Andrea recently became a member of the Dana-Farber Society with a bequest made in support of The Dana-Farber Campaign, the Institute’s ambitious $2 billion fundraising effort to defy cancer at every turn.

The Abrahams became a part of the extended Dana-Farber family in 1977, when Andrea’s infant son, David, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and treated at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Although treatment initially worked, David sadly passed away when he was just 17 months old. “Even though the outcome was not successful, the care we received as a family and that David received was just spectacular,” Andrea recalls.

Immediately following David’s passing, Andrea’s father-in-law Alexander Abraham was inspired to start the David Abraham Fellowship Fund in his grandson’s memory, one of the first fellowship funds at Dana-Farber, which provides flexible funding to early career researchers in childhood cancer. Alexander soon joined the board of trustees, and Andrea assumed the mantle in 1989.

Over the years, Andrea has been impressed by the Institute’s advancements. As a trustee, she decided to enhance her support in 2021 through continued fellowship funding, naming a spot on the Institute’s new Imagine Display, and by joining the Dana-Farber Society, all to bolster The Dana-Farber Campaign to help the Institute defy even the hardest to treat cancers, like the one that took her son. “Today, there is a lot more understanding of neuroblastoma,” Andrea says. “My hope is that we can continue research to one day find a cure.”

“Planned gifts give Dana-Farber money that the Institute can count on in the future, which helps sustain research and keeps the momentum going for the hardest-to-treat diseases,” Andrea continues.

Unrestricted giving through bequests like Andrea’s, and through gifts to The Dana-Farber Campaign, help the Institute pursue innovative early-stage research, speed new drugs into clinical trials, reduce disparities, and, importantly, help support special programs that address the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of patients and their families.

Although David’s treatment wasn’t successful, Andrea and her family have been relentless in their efforts for over 40 years. Andrea and her children meet regularly with their fellows to better understand their research, and her daughter, Karen, is a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, running 26.2 miles in her brother’s memory.

“Dana-Farber helped me get through a terrible time in my life,” Andrea reflects. “Making a bequest to continue supporting other families after I’m gone is the greatest gift I can give.”

Andrea Abraham (top row, second from left) is creating a lasting and meaningful legacy with her bequest gift to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.