Donor Spotlight: Kathryn Wriston
My husband, Walter B. Wriston, was diagnosed with a pancreatic adenocarcinoma in August, 2003. At the time of his diagnosis he had retired as Chairman and CEO of Citicorp and we were married for 37 years. Learning about a cancer diagnosis is heart-breaking enough, but to learn that he had pancreatic cancer and of the limited treatment options, came as a real shock to both of us.
We learned about the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and got in touch with the people there immediately. They were extremely helpful to us throughout his illness.
Walter’s cancer was inoperable because of its location in the pancreas. His oncologist, Dr. Joseph Ruggiero, immediately began his treatment with a combination of drugs in conjunction with gemcitabine, and he had a good initial response to this first therapy. While the regimen was effective on the tumors that had metastasized, it never impacted the main tumor. Dr. Robert Vizza, President of The Lustgarten Foundation, put us in touch with another specialist for a second opinion and continued to advise Walter of research developments throughout his illness.
Walter was on three oncological cocktails over a period of seventeen months. When the last treatment stopped working, Dr. Ruggiero took Walter off all treatments and he died in January 2005.
I will be forever grateful to Charles Dolan for establishing the Lustgarten Foundation and to Cablevision for underwriting the administrative expenses that the Foundation incurs so that all contributions go directly to fund research. The Foundation is blessed with an outstanding scientific advisory board which aids it in deciding what research to fund.
I was delighted to read in the annual report about Dr. David Tuveson, The Lustgarten Foundation's Director of Research, and his new research program at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I am encouraged, too, that new drug combinations have lengthened the lives of people suffering from this disease. However, while progress has been made, we are still a long way from a cure.
Walter and I started contributing to The Lustgarten Foundation when he was diagnosed and I continue to do so every year in his memory. To date, the Walter B. Wriston Fund has supported over $865,000 in research projects. I am a believer that even relatively modest contributions add up over time and help further research.