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Lymphoma Survivor Gives Back

October 02, 2019

Ruth Shechter still remembers the many emotions – fear, anxiety, anger, hope – she went through in 2003 after she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer in which tumors attack lymph nodes.

“Whenever you’re faced with any diagnosis of a potentially fatal illness, you want to know the pros and cons, ups and downs, ins and outs,” says the Fairway, Kansas, resident.

Ruth found reassurance in the approach of an oncologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. He was recommended by her internist.

“His explanations were very clear,” Ruth says. “I knew where I was at any given time during the treatment. I knew the problems and risks and what the future may or may not hold.”

The treatment she and her doctor pursued was the “least devastating,” allowing Ruth to maintain her daily activities. And happily, her cancer has been in remission for more than a year. Ruth says the experience gave her and her husband of 64 years, Nathan, a newfound appreciation for cancer research.

So when the couple pondered where to direct the proceeds of the charitable remainder trust they had set up with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation several years ago, they knew that the University of Kansas cancer research effort was a cause worthy of their gift.

The Shechters, who have 4 children, 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren, have lost loved ones to cancer on both sides of their family. This family history prompted Ruth and Nathan to think about the legacy they would leave for their heirs. They raised their family to value philanthropy, the couple says.

“Our philosophy is to give wherever you can to causes that are important to you, regardless of your financial status,” shares Nathan.

Adds Ruth, "The University of Kansas Cancer Center was the 1st bequest we made because of our experience here.”

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is a gift plan that provides income to the beneficiaries for their lifetimes or for a fixed term. When the trust term ends, the remainder in the trust passes to the charity.

Ruth and Nathan have designated that the remainder of their CRT be used to establish the Shechter Family Professorship in Cancer Research Fund at KU Endowment. The income from the fund will support cancer research conducted by the faculty and staff of the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute. Preference will be given to a faculty member conducting research on lymphoma or hematologic malignancies.

Ruth has one wish for the CRT: “We hope that our gift helps to find a cause and a cure."

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