David Decrow

Ellen and Blaise Doremus

Pictured: David Decrow and his wife, Suzanne

As avid boaters, David and Suzanne Decrow know the importance of finding safe harbor in a storm.

So when David was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer typically impacting the lungs, the couple, who live in Maine, sought out that safe harbor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Home to the International Mesothelioma Program, the Brigham is world-renowned for our research and treatment of this rare, aggressive cancer. After making the five-hour journey to meet with Raphael Bueno, MD, director of the program and chief of the Division of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery, David underwent a day-long surgery in December 2018 at the Brigham.

David recalls a five-week recovery period, including a week in the intensive care unit. During this time, the Decrows were deeply impressed by the treatment they received from their caregivers.

“It’s like you’ve got a second home,” David says. “It takes so much support to make this happen behind the scenes, beyond the surgery.”

During David’s recovery, Suzanne stayed just across the street from the hospital at Thornton House, a “home away from home” for families of Brigham patients undergoing treatment for mesothelioma. This made a big impact on the Decrows, given that their home is several hours away. “I could get out of bed, and I could be in his room,” Suzanne says. “That was a real gift.”

Four years later, David’s cancer is in remission, and he and Suzanne are immensely grateful for the care they received at the Brigham. Not only did the couple name their boat “Bueno” after David’s physician, Dr. Bueno, they also opted to make a planned gift to the Brigham to express their gratitude.

To honor David’s entire care team, the couple established a charitable gift annuity, which provides them with a fixed income stream for life and ultimately benefits the Brigham’s mesothelioma research, in the hopes of finding a cure. By making a gift, the Decrows became members of The Brigham Legacy Society.

“During my recovery in the hospital I just wanted to do something,” David says. “I wanted to acknowledge Dr. Bueno’s wonderful care and all the other caregivers and staff at the Brigham, from those at the front door to the healthcare team on the inpatient floor.”

The Decrows encourage others to make this type of gift to the Brigham if they can as it benefits everyone involved. For the couple, they see this as a starting point for their aspirations to continue giving to a cause to which they feel so deeply connected.

“Turning the corner on Francis Street, you just get a feeling of confidence,” David says. “It’s very personal care. You’re not a number.”