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Anita and John Casazza

If it hadn’t been for a landlord who was late with the rent, Anita and John Casazza might never have met, much less have gotten married 17 years ago.

At the time, Anita was working as a bookkeeper in a building where John had been in business for 50 years. He’d sold his company a number of years earlier to help care for his first wife, Olive, who had been diagnosed with colon cancer and later succumbed to the disease. When John called about the rent on the building, he spoke to Anita, and the rest – as they say – is history.

A year after Anita and John were married, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.“I am here today because someone in the past was able to do research and provide a better choice of procedures for people with breast cancer,” she says.

Since cancer touched both of their lives so deeply, the Oakbrook, Illinois, couple knew they wanted to include the American Cancer Society in their will. However, since “we hope to have many more years,” John says they decided early on in their marriage to open some charitable gift annuities. “We wanted to go ahead and give the money so they can use it now.”

According to Anita, who says they earmarked their funds for research, “We are hoping for a breakthrough, for a cure for all types of cancer or at least some of them.”

As for the Society’s charitable gift annuities, John would recommend them to anyone. “They provide a good return on your money,” he says. “And there also are the tax benefits,” Anita chimes in.

The ever-active couple say one of their favorite pastimes is traveling. Anita and John have been everywhere from the Far East to Australia and New Zealand. They’ll go to the western United States this fall, taking a cruise along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

“You should see everyone and everything at least once,” John says. “We’re getting there.”

Come fall each year, the couple head for their home in Florida near Palm Beach for five months. “When the leaves start to fall, we know it’s time to get out of here,” Anita says. “Then when the leaves come out in the spring – in April – we come back to Illinois.”

John, who turned 91 in July, attributes his longevity to “working hard, playing hard, eating good and having a young wife (Anita is 73)” who keeps him going.

He also thinks that “Everyone should give a little back of what they’ve been given.” That’s certainly something that the Casazzas have been doing for many years.

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.