Martha Newell

A Debt of Gratitude

Matha Newell believes gratitude keeps her body and spirit healthy. "I take a moment every day to think of the blessings in my life," she says. And at 90 years old, she has many. Mrs. Newell lives an active life, still managing her own affairs, playing the piano every day, and swimming three times a week. Most of all, she is thankful for her family. Her three daughters live close to her home in Richmond, Va., as do most of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We don't have a family history of this disease, and we don't know what triggered its onset.

—Martha Newell

Her gratitude now extends to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Mrs. Newell's grandson, Carrington Williams, was treated successfully at MSK for a recurrent brain tumor. Cancer-free since 2007, he is the proud father of three daughters-and an avid runner who completed the New York City Marathon. "We appreciate the incredible care Carrington received at Memorial Sloan Kettering,"

Mrs. Newell says. "He was treated with skill and compassion at every turn."

Wishing to honor MSK and her grandson, Mrs. Newell established a gift annuity to advance innovative brain tumor research.

"We don't have a family history of this disease," she says, "and we don't know what triggered its onset in Carrington. By supporting research, we want to help clinicians and scientists better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent this cancer."

Mrs. Newell's gift will be directed to high-priority emerging research led by Dr. Lisa DeAngelis, chair of MSK's Department of Neurology and co-executive director of the Brain Tumor Center.

For example, recent discoveries suggest that a small population of cells within the most malignant brain tumors is different from standard cancer cells. Even after conventional therapy kills the vulnerable tumor cells, this subpopulation can repopulate the tumor with new cancer cells, causing it to recur. An MSK research team has shown that a novel class of drugs can transform these cells into standard cancer cells—significantly enhancing the powerful anti-tumor effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Now the team is preparing to test one of these drugs in patients.

"We are truly grateful to Mrs. Newell for her generous investment in our work, and we are honored to be the recipient of her planned gift," says Dr. DeAngelis. "Philanthropy allows us the freedom to take on promising projects like this clinical trial and speeds lifesaving new therapies to patients. Our goal is to bring better outcomes and quality of life to brain tumor patients around the world. With friends like Mrs. Newell, we can make this a reality"

Memorial Sloan Kettering gratefully acknowledges her visionary commitment to the Center's future and recognizes her as a member of the Cullum Society.

Click here to read other inspiring stories of support.

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