2021 Annual Report - University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Spotlight Natalie Ford

Natalie Ford created an endowment fund to support scientific research, education and training for breast cancer at the University of Chicago in memory of three women close to her who were affected by the disease. (courtesy: Nancy Wong)

Community member’s dedication to helping others leads to gift supporting cancer research Natalie Ford, a resident of Chicago’s South Side, is committed to helping others, a value she learned at an early age from her mother. “My mother was a strong woman who led by example,” Ford said. “She always said, ‘Life isn’t about what you can do for yourself; it’s about what you can do to help society.’” Carrying forward her mother’s legacy, Ford has created an endowment fund with a gift of $100,000 to support scientific research, education and training for breast cancer at the University of Chicago. The fund was created in memory of three women close to her who were affected by the disease. Ford, who works for a nonprofit organization that helps with job training and placement, was able to make the gift by building on her inheritance from family members through personal investments and disciplined savings. She notes that, regardless of the amount, gifts made by people like her who have supported family and friends affected by cancer can add up and make a difference. “The fund I’ve established represents my dedication and care for those who come behind me,” Ford said. “There are a lot of problems in the world today, and while I can’t solve everything, I have found a way to focus on what’s most important to me to have the greatest impact. I think if you look beyond yourself, you begin to see the world through a new lens and recognize the importance of helping others.” Ford hopes the fund she established will not only honor the memory of the three women it is named for, but will also lead to better treatment options for breast cancer and, ultimately, a cure. She also hopes the gift can help provide supportive services for patients and their family members. “When you first hear that a family member has been diagnosed with cancer, it can be isolating, and you can experience a range of emotions — anger, sadness, helplessness,” Ford said. “I’m hoping that this funding can help provide support because not everyone has a nuclear family, not everyone has someone they can call when they’re facing something like this.”

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University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center