Memorial Sloan Kettering

October 2019 Newsletter

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INSIDE: Research Update | 4 Easy Steps to Include MSK in Your Will | Visible Ink Uncovers Healing Nearly 50 years after getting married, Arden Witherwax can't remember if he proposed to his wife, Mary Witherwax, or if it was the other way around. But he does remember Mary. The two met in graduate school in the late 1960s. During breaks between classes, they soon discovered a few shared interests, including teaching, hiking, and art. Arden and Mary married outside the house that Arden had built on July 14, 1971. "We lived in the best of times," they would often tell each other. Those times lasted decades: through both of their teaching careers and respective retirements. One day in 2013, Arden accompanied Mary to her allergist. The doctor was palpating Mary's sides when he stopped suddenly. "That shouldn't be there" was all he would say. Tests would soon reveal that Mary had leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of uterine sarcoma. Mary knew right away that she wanted to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for her treatment. She'd been treated there before for three malignant melanomas, and had a good experience. Now, facing such a serious diagnosis, Mary was adamant she would not be treated anywhere else for her sarcoma. She began treatment right away under MSK's Dr. Sandra P. D'Angelo, who specializes in patient care and research of sarcomas of the soft tissue and bone. "Everyone was so good to Mary at MSK— the nurses were so good to her," Arden remembers now. "Dr. Sandra D'Angelo was a professional—we respected Dr. D'Angelo, and I could tell she respected Mary, too. I am quite certain they extended her life. Memorial Sloan Kettering has a reputation, and that reputation is warranted." One evening when Mary was in treatment, she and Arden were reading together. Out of the blue Mary looked up from her book and said, "I hope what I'm going through will help others in the future." Mary suggested that they include Memorial Sloan Kettering in their wills, and they decided together that is what they would do. Arden has been committed to carrying out Mary's selfless wish since she passed away in 2018. Gift Honors Mary's Wishes Reflecting on the Future | Fall 2019 Arden and Mary Witherwax Continued on Page 2

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