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When Donna Taube was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, she assumed all she could do was trust her doctor and hope for the best. But when she reached out to the American Cancer Society, she discovered there was a lot she could do to dramatically improve her cancer experience.
“Everything I heard was just about how helpful they are,” said Taube. “Every person I've met has been terrific. It's only been a positive experience.”
It all started with a simple telephone call to the Society. All Taube wanted at the time was information about breast cancer. She got a lot more. Living in Brighton, Massachusetts, Taube often rode the bus back and forth from Boston for treatments. Walking uphill from the bus stop to her home was especially draining. The American Cancer Society cancer information specialist she spoke to on the telephone mentioned Road to Recovery™, which provides cancer patients transportation to treatment.
“I live alone, so going to chemo was going to be hard,” she said. “I didn't know how it was going to affect me. Somebody at the Society told me they would give me rides. At my first chemo, I had a ride from the Society. I liked the woman so much that I asked if she could drive me every time. She became a friend and we had a good time. So instead of being tense about everything, it helped me and I was more relaxed.”
The Society also helped Taube make tough decisions about her cancer treatment. During chemotherapy, she learned about the Society's Look Good…Feel Better® program that helps women regain their self-image and cope with appearance-related side effects of treatment. After joining the group, she revealed that she was dissatisfied with her oncologist but felt there was little she could do but stay the course. The support group urged her to reconsider and find an oncologist who was right for her.
“I changed to an oncologist I loved,” Taube said. “It really was because of Look Good…Feel Better.” After surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, Taube went on tamoxifen in 2002. “It's been great,” she said. “I'm just fine.”
Giving Back through a Deferred Gift Annuity
After treatment, Taube was grateful for the support she received. “The American Cancer Society changed my experience in numerous ways,” she said. “I felt I owed a debt to the Society to help them in any way I could so they could keep helping people.”
She called the Society again and this time learned about planned giving. She decided to donate funds to establish a $25,000 flexible deferred gift annuity. The donor knows precisely how much the gift annuity payments will be on the date the gift annuity commences. With most retirement plans, only the amount contributed to the retirement plan is known. A deferred gift annuity creates a tax equaling the present value of the gift. Gift annuity payments continue for life, while some retirement plans are limited in duration.*
“I don't have a pension,” Taube said. “I had always planned that upon my death I would give some money to the Society. This was a way to do it while I was alive and have a pension at the same time.”
Taube said she hopes her contribution will help the Society reach others with the kind of support and information she received during her cancer ordeal. She wishes her mother, who battled breast cancer in the 1960s, had had access to the kind of resources that were available to her. Taube credits the Society not only for its services but also for inspiring her to find the best cancer care.
“I wanted to go to the doctors and let them do what they wanted,” she said. “Through the [American Cancer Society materials] I read, I learned there were other options.”
To find out which charitable giving option best fits your specific situation and to help us make a difference in the fight against cancer, please contact an American Cancer Society estate planning professional in your area by calling toll free 800-227-1885.