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MSK Saved Me from Afar

By Carol Ann Nickle

Carol Ann NickleI have never stepped foot in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), but I can say without a doubt that their physicians helped save my life.

When I entered the University of Delaware in 1975, it was my goal to become an elementary school music teacher. Music was an important part of my upbringing in Maryland, where I accompanied numerous choirs and an all-county chorus on the piano. I was pursuing the dream when at age 19, I became so sick that I was unable to walk to class.

An Unexpected Diagnosis

My family physician took one look at me, observed that my skin was as yellow as the slacks I was wearing that day, and admitted me to the hospital with an expected diagnosis of hepatitis. After two weeks of tests and consultations with specialists, my parents and I were given the actual cause of my illness: malignant melanoma. The worst form of skin cancer, it had already spread to my liver, lungs, and lymph system.

My doctors at what was then Wilmington General Hospital’s Carpenter Clinic planned to send me to Memorial Sloan Kettering for evaluation. But thanks to MSK, my hometown medical team was able to consult directly with MSK oncologists and establish a treatment protocol without the need for me to travel to New York City.

MSK Expertise from Home

This made a real difference in my life because I could receive the most advanced care where I lived, surrounded by the comforts of home and family. After my first session of what was then a novel chemotherapy, dacarbazine, my condition improved dramatically.

A few months later I was healthy enough to return to college! However, I no longer had the desire to teach music, which I now associated with being sick. Instead, during the six years of treatment that followed, I built a successful career as an administrative assistant, and later retired.

Living a Full Life—And Giving Back

In May 2021, I celebrated another 46 years of living. That’s how much time had passed since my melanoma diagnosis. Cancer research and treatment have come a long way since then. I’ve learned that MSK has also developed the first modern immunotherapies for melanoma, and expanded their use to other forms of cancer. I credit MSK, and their physicians’ collaboration with my local doctors, with my full recovery.

It’s why I have included MSK in my estate plans as a beneficiary of my IRA. For me, taking the necessary steps to make a planned gift to MSK is essential. This way, I help ensure that their scientists and physicians can continue to advance research that makes a difference for people with cancer around the world. I couldn’t be more proud to support innovative breakthroughs that will touch lives of so many, well into the future.

You Can Make a Difference, Too

You can join Carol in helping to change the future of cancer care by making your own legacy gift to MSK. Contact the Office of Planned Giving at 800-688-1827 or to learn more about how you can drive life-changing science and services.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

An individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust, or retirement plan.

I bequeath to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a New York nonprofit corporation having a principal place of business at 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, Federal Tax ID #13-1924236, ____percent of my total estate (or $_____, or other property) to be used or disposed of as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in its sole discretion deems appropriate.

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor-advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to MSK or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property, or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to MSK as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to MSK as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and MSK where you agree to make a gift to MSK and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

A tax imposed at one's death on the transfer of most types of property. Currently federal estate taxes are assessed in 2022 on estates worth more than $11.2 million. The maximum estate tax rate is 40 percent. Some states also impose taxes at death that vary depending on state law.

A written legal instrument created by a grantor for the benefit of him/herself (during life) or others (during life or at death).

A revocable trust established by a grantor during his or her lifetime in which the grantor transfers some or all of his or her property into the trust.

Equity or debt instruments, typically shares listed on a stock exchange, which can be readily bought or sold.