The Extra Mile: Finding Hope on the Journey of a Lifetime
As a medical equipment installation and repair technician, Ernie Kirschner has traveled the world and met hundreds of people.
Back in 2016, Ernie Kirschner stopped by a research lab to catch up with one of the kindest, most supportive clients he had ever had. He was surprised to learn that his friend wasn't there—he had taken early retirement and was battling lymphoma.
Instead of heading home to Connecticut, Ernie looped north to visit his friend who had received chemo treatment that was no longer helping him. Ernie learned that despite aggressive treatment, his friend's cancer had persisted. There was one option left: a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
The prospect of long drives, extended stays in Manhattan, and additional treatment overwhelmed his friend.
The timing was uncanny for Ernie, who had recently made a personal commitment to showing more kindness and impacting more lives. If his friend pursued the trial, Ernie said, he'd drive him to MSK (a 16-hour round trip), open his home—and do whatever was needed.
The Journey Begins
In January 2017, under the care of MSK hematologic oncologist Dr. Craig Sauter, Ernie's friend began chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy, a new form of treatment that gives a patient's infection-fighting T cells the instructions they need to attack cancer cells.
Within a month, Dr. Sauter had good news: the tumors were shrinking. In May, Ernie's friend took the next step and underwent a bone marrow transplant. During the next three months, The Red Team at one of MSK's outpatient clinics administered medications, monitored the friend’s vitals, and treated fevers and other conditions that sometimes occur in the challenging aftermath of a treatment.
Throughout it all, Ernie provided support alongside family and other friends. When a scan showed no evidence of cancer, Ernie rejoiced with his pal and the MSK teams he'd come to know so well.
Touched by the care he witnessed, Ernie included MSK's bone marrow transplant service, in honor of The Red Team, as a beneficiary in his will. He feels good about the gesture and knows it will bring more patients the benefits of MSK's extraordinary care and leading-edge treatments, including CAR T cell therapy, in the future.
Ernie's generosity also goes a long way in fulfilling his pledge to do more to help others—and it gave not just one man, but two, the journey of a lifetime.
Honor Someone Special, Encourage More Research
- When you decide to recognize the care you or someone close to you received by including a gift to MSK in your estate plan, you provide the resources MSK needs to make more medical breakthroughs.
- Contact the Office of Planned Giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-688-1827 to learn more. If you have already made a gift to MSK, please notify us so that we can thank you for your generosity and ensure that your wishes are met.