Leave a Lasting Gift to
Support Pancreatic Cancer Research

By Vanessa Steil – August 21,2020


Susan Martinson can still recall the moment she found out her 77-year-old mother, Marie C. Martinson, had been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. “It was May 2014 and aside from some weight loss and back pain a year earlier, my mother was otherwise healthy. I was shocked to hear the diagnosis and devastated to know she’d been told she only had 6-8 months to live,” Susan recounts. Despite this heartbreaking news, Susan and her mother remained positive.

Sadly, her mother passed away just five weeks later. During that brief period, Marie told Susan if she could be granted one wish, she’d want to know at least one person might benefit from her experience with pancreatic cancer at some point down the road. “My mother’s selfless desire was consistent with the immense satisfaction she found by helping people.”

By the time Susan learned about the Lustgarten Foundation and the amazing work they were doing for patients and their families, it was too late for her mother. Nevertheless, she was inspired to make her mother’s wish come true. As an entrepreneur with fond memories of her mother’s unwavering support for a line of all natural cocktail ingredients she developed, Keep It Simple Syrup, Susan committed her company to donate annual financial contributions to the Lustgarten Foundation. Chef Sous LLC has been a Community Partner since 2014.

When Susan lost her father in 2018, she knew it was time to make plans for her own estate. That prompted her to learn about planned giving options with the Lustgarten Foundation. Planned giving would allow her to support the Foundation during her lifetime and beyond, enabling her to make a much larger donation than possible through ordinary income. “By leaving a majority of my estate to the Lustgarten Foundation, I believe that I’m granting my mother’s wish and keeping her memory alive.”

Through Susan’s gift in honor of her mother, as well as the gifts of other donors, countless families might be spared the pain and anguish her family endured as a result of this disease. This includes the family of her uncle and godfather, Peter F. Alfano, Sr., who lost his own brief battle with pancreatic cancer in August 2020.

“I know my mother would be proud of my goal to carry out her wish, and I too would like to help other families faced with the same prognosis, so I researched my options. When I discovered that 100 percent of every dollar donated to the Lustgarten Foundation goes directly to pancreatic cancer research, I knew right away that this organization was worthy of my donation. I am pleased to be a member of the Foundation’s Legacy of Hope.”

What is planned giving?

Planned giving refers to a major gift made during a person’s lifetime or at death. While the type of contribution is an individualized choice, options can include a monthly recurring donation, a bequest, gifts of stock, gifts of real estate, and other types of financial allocations. Donors making planned gifts become members of the Foundation’s Legacy of Hope.

How does my gift make a difference?

Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the Lustgarten Foundation has directed nearly $200 million to scientific and clinical research and is working tirelessly to increase the number of long-term survivors and find a cure for the disease through our research efforts. Today, we are the world’s largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research. With gifts from our Legacy of Hope members like Susan, we can ensure pancreatic cancer research continues to move at an accelerated pace by funding innovative scientists who are pioneering some of the most groundbreaking research. “Thanks to the support of our donors, we’ve made great strides in recent years and gifts like Susan’s are the driving force behind finding new treatments and novel ways to diagnosis this disease. We’re honored that individuals and families are making planned gifts that will have a profound impact on the future of research,” said Stephanie DerGarabedian, the Foundation’s National Director of Development. 

Making a planned gift

Susan knows firsthand the value of pancreatic cancer research. If you’ve been thinking about how to make a lasting impact on the lives of future pancreatic cancer patients, please consider joining our Legacy of Hope donors. There are many ways to participate in planned giving, from allocating a set donation amount in your will to donating a percentage of your estate and assets upon your death. When you donate to the Lustgarten Foundation through your will, you may experience financial and tax benefits, and at the same time support the vital work of the Foundation and our commitment to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.

For more information about planned giving or to become a Legacy of Hope donor, please contact Stephanie DerGarabedian at (516) 737-1521 or by email at stephanied@lustgarten.org.

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