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$525,000 donation will support cancer research


A gift of $525,000 to Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine from Donald Shaffner in memory of his wife will support innovative cancer research.

Through his will, Shaffner made the gift in honor of his late wife, Mary Donna, who passed away from heart complications in 2011. Mary Donna was diagnosed with lung cancer and treated at Siteman Cancer Center. Shaffner fondly remembers interactions with the staff at Siteman, including the warm welcome his wife received at each appointment. As a caretaker, he felt equally as cared for during their time at Siteman, and Shaffner hopes to inspire others to leave estate gifts to Siteman to advance cancer research and treatment.

“My hope is that by letting folks know that I’ve made this commitment [to Siteman], it will inspire more people to do the same. You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference, and every little bit is important to the research,” Shaffner said.

The donation will go to the Discovery Fund at Siteman, which supports new and innovative cancer research ideas that are not funded by traditional sources. Commitments to the fund help Siteman researchers:

  • Invest promptly in promising research that allows faculty members to explore cancer causes and treatment before other funding may be available.
  • Recruit top-notch faculty members and build state-of-the-art research laboratories to explore cancer treatment techniques.
  • Provide funding support on merit-based projects to increase quality of life for patients and cancer survivors.
  • Offer faculty researchers the opportunity to turn their projects into sustainable, long-term projects through initial funding.

“Siteman Cancer Center is very grateful and humbled to accept estate gifts to further our world-class cancer care and innovative research,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, Siteman director and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine. “These future gifts help our physicians and scientists study promising new ideas, with the goal of developing more effective treatments for patients at Siteman and beyond.”

For more information, or to make a gift to Siteman, please call (314) 935-4725, or email [email protected].