Supporters Like You
Read about supporters who are helping the Brigham to transform the future of medicine.
When Trudi Epstein was treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for breast cancer in 2006, she knew she had found an exceptional team of caregivers.
“The emotional support and optimism of the staff, doctors, nurses, and technicians was unmatched,” Trudi says. “They really got me through.”
“The emotional support and optimism of the staff, doctors, nurses, and technicians of my cancer care team was unmatched. They really got me through a devastating diagnosis.” – Trudi Epstein, Brigham Supporter
Since childhood, running has been a big part of Mike O’Callaghan’s life. Along with this passion has been the long-held dream to one day run the famed Boston Marathon.
“I often thought about running the marathon as a major run in my career,” says Mike, a high school track coach from Arizona.
A few years ago, he began researching nonprofit organizations that are part of the Boston Athletic Association’s charity program and was inspired by the work and mission of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“What particularly resonated for me was the Brigham’s long history of excellence in women’s health, especially given all the important women—my mom, wife, daughter, and four sisters—in my life,” he says.
“Our hope is that our estate gift will help continue research, development, and implementation of innovations, like the Ewing Amputation, in the future.” – Mike O’Callaghan, Brigham Supporter
For Donna Royer, the importance of philanthropy and giving back was instilled in her at a young age. She recalls a time when her mother bought a new coat to replace the tattered one of a young man hired to do yardwork, letting him know she’d found it around the house. Donna’s father would also repair old bicycles from a local dump for the neighborhood kids. Their generosity has carried on with Donna throughout her life, motivating her to give back to organizations that inspire her, like Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH).
“It’s important that people get the care they need, when they need it.” – Donna Royer, Brigham Supporter
When long-time donor Harold Davis reflects on his decision to give to the Brigham, his late wife and best friend, Ruth, is at the forefront of his mind. “The main drive I have in this whole idea of giving is because of Ruth,” he says. “Ruth was someone special and the Brigham gave us many more years together.”
As a nurse practitioner for the San Diego school system for 33 years, Gail Sipe dedicated her career to caring for students in varied settings and capacities. In all, she held 13 positions that spanned every grade level and multiple programs until retiring 10 years ago at the age of 72.
In the many roles she held—from launching new projects and programs to writing and securing grants—Gail was enthusiastic about embracing possibility and effecting change in healthcare. This eagerness to chart new territory was evident throughout her long career, including when she served as the nurse practitioner for San Diego’s first charter school that largely accommodated underserved students with educational, mental, and physical health challenges.
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.
“Turning the corner on Francis Street, you just get a feeling of confidence. It’s very personal care. You’re not a number.” David Decrow, Brigham Supporter
Looking back, Joseph Feaster says that the first signs his son was struggling with mental illness came seemingly out of nowhere.
A smart, funny, and loving young man, Joseph III’s behavior became erratic the summer after his freshman year of college, when he suffered a manic episode. In the years that followed, the elder Joseph sought out behavioral healthcare services for his son, coming face to face not only with the challenges of finding the resources Joseph lll needed, but also the stigma that persists around mental illness.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the unexpected phone call with bad news about their child.
For Ellen Doremus, that call came one day in 2013. Her son, Blaise, had suffered a grand mal seizure in his sleep while on a camping trip deep in the Australian outback, where the 21-year-old was studying abroad.
When Judie Hunter talks about her late mother, Lani, her voice floods with pride.
Judie explains how Lani, one of 15 children born to Italian immigrants, raised three kids on her own as a single mother. She talks about how her mother worked tirelessly to make sure Judie and her older brothers had what they needed to get by.
“If my mother didn’t have this operation, she would not have lived much longer than a few months,” Judie says. “The Brigham gave me a gift. It gave me 14 more years with my mother.”
Judie Hunter, Brigham Supporter
Peggy Duggan, MD
While her new role as Tampa General Hospital’s chief medical officer may have taken her more than 1,000 miles away, Peggy Duggan, MD, will always consider Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital home.
Susan and Michael Mosher
While they’re a rarity today, house calls were once the norm in healthcare. But a doctor who comes right to your seat at Fenway Park? Now that’s a different ball game altogether.
“We’ve toured the center on more than one occasion and found the researchers to be extremely dedicated to their work. We knew we could make an impact by supporting their promising research and wanted to inspire the next generation to be philanthropic.”
Michael Mosher, Brigham Supporter
For more than 40 years, Carol Rabinovitz has been going to Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital for her mammograms. Even while living in Maine, she still made the trip to the Jamaica Plain campus for her annual exams.
“The Brigham is on the cutting edge as medicine constantly changes. I see our gift as an investment in the future of medicine. We are so lucky to have a world-class hospital of great minds, with such a personal touch.”
Sharon Judd, Brigham Supporter
Sharon and Steven Judd
Sharon was being treated for neck and shoulder pain by a chiropractor for six weeks. During that time, her symptoms worsened. Things came to a head one day, when she got out of her car couldn’t support her right leg and her right arm went numb.
Marjorie “Marjie” Nicholson
Marjorie “Marjie” Nicholson was 64 when a near-fatal brain aneurysm turned her entire world upside down. Barely alive and able to communicate only by blinking her eyes, she initially wasn’t expected to survive, let alone recover.
“The Brigham saved my life. There really wasn’t much question in our minds as to where we wanted to put our money. We had no hesitation.”
Bob Heyer, Brigham Supporter
Robert “Bob” and JoAnn Heyer
Hopeful for how many other lives can be changed because of their gift, Brigham Legacy Society members Bob and his wife JoAnn, named the Brigham as a beneficiary in their will to support the Lung Transplant Program.
MaryJo Marra-Hauser and Stephen Hauser
After battling lupus from a young age, MaryJo Marra-Hauser later had to cope with the kidney failure it caused. Through careful diet and daily exercise over many years, MaryJo did everything in her power to prepare for a transplant. However, she met several specialists who were less optimistic about her chances for a successful surgery. Some suggested she plan for lifelong dialysis. MaryJo and her husband, Stephen, refused to accept this fate.
“There is such a need to support medical research, and there’s an outstanding group of people at the Brigham. I am proud to support them.”
Marjie Nicholson, Brigham Supporter
Lydia Schoenfeld is intimately aware of the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. She cared for her mother, Ruth Davida Schoenfeld, who suffered from the neurodegenerative disease for several years before her death in 2015.
Karen and Ed Scolamiero
Karen Scolamiero had been experiencing equilibrium and vision problems for years when, while showering one morning in December 1997, she realized she couldn’t feel the water on her head. She went to her local hospital, where she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). During a follow-up visit, she was advised to take injectable medication to treat the neurodegenerative disease.
“I am so grateful for the care, for everything the Brigham’s done for me, the fact that I’m well. I said if I ever come back from this, which I have, I will give back.”
Karen Scolamiero, Brigham Supporter
After a childhood in South Carolina and West Virginia in the 1920s and 30s, Helen Levitan’s innate curiosity and determination drove her to seek a college education in New York City. A graduate of the Mt. Sinai School of Nursing and Columbia Teachers College, Helen served in Europe during World War II in the Army Corps of Nurses, and later worked as a public health nurse in Ithaca and Nassau County, New York.
Laurie and Clarke Chandler
In 2013, Laurie Chandler developed a persistent dry cough, experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, and started losing weight rapidly. After many visits to several hospitals, she was finally diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a condition that is most commonly connected to a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a chronic and progressive lung disease where lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred.
“I hope my gift will help the Brigham continue to provide the highest quality care possible to patients and their families.”
Laurie Chandler, Brigham Supporter
Karen Spikes, PhD
When she was 14, Karen Spikes, PhD, went into cardiac arrest after receiving anesthesia drugs and standard pain medications for surgery. Doctors revived her, but this was just the beginning of her medical ordeal.
“I know a gift to the Brigham goes beyond these walls. My giving may benefit society at large—including research that leads to cures.”
Karen Spikes, PhD, Brigham Supporter
J. Linzee Coolidge
For more than 50 years, J. Linzee Coolidge has ardently supported Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). In 1963, he became the youngest Board of Trustees member of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital—a predecessor hospital of BWH—and has remained involved as a loyal advocate and donor.
“When you set up a charitable gift annuity at the Brigham, you receive a tax advantage up front and guaranteed payments. You also feel good knowing you are helping people who will rely on the hospital’s care for years to come. It’s a win-win.”
J. Linzee Coolidge, Brigham Supporter
Marie Ann Labrie
Marie Ann Labrie still remembers the day when she received a frightening wake-up call regarding her health. Upon returning home after a trip to the gym, Labrie’s dangerously irregular heartbeat caused her to suddenly lose consciousness and collapse onto the kitchen floor. The fall left her badly bruised.
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