Spotlight Newsletter | Liz Deluca

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Why do you give to YNHH?

WHEN LIZ DELUCA’S HUSBAND FRED (founder of Subway® restaurants) suddenly became ill during a business trip to Canada in 2013, they received a devastating diagnosis. Fred had leukemia. His survival depended on getting immediate treatment.

Suddenly, they had to make a very important decision— where should Fred go for treatment?

“I had an affinity for YNHH,” says Liz. “When I was studying for my nursing degree as a young woman, I chose to do my clinical practice there. My son was born there 44 years ago. It has a world-class reputation and a state-of-the-art cancer hospital. I knew it was the right place.”

Fred spent the better part of the next two and a half years in the care of the physicians, nurses, and staff at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Both Liz and Fred came to rely on their expertise, compassion, and professionalism.

“The physicians were amazing—their willingness to be available all the time, their attentiveness…they always gave us reassurance, no matter what we were facing,” says Liz. Fred’s treatment at Smilow gave him extra time with a good quality of life. He could still work—which he loved— and he was able to do some limited travel. “He was so grateful for that extra time,” says Liz.

Tragically, Fred lost his battle against leukemia in 2015.

“The team at Smilow helped Fred get through the most difficult time in his life,” Liz says. He felt deeply grateful and wanted to show his gratitude, but Liz wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it.

“I went back to the doctors who cared for Fred and said, ‘How can I help you?’” she says. They told her they needed funding to support their research into new ways to help cancer patients. “Then I asked the nurses, ‘What can we do for you? A new lounge? Televisions?’” They said they needed funding for continuing education, so they could learn to give even better care.

Liz made a generous donation to Smilow through the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation to support cancer research, professional development, and a new patient and family education initiative.

Liz recently visited the unit where her husband was treated. “To see the enthusiasm of the physicians and nurses for the help we’re giving them was thrilling,” she says. “Everything they do is a step toward prolonging the lives of people with cancer. We have to keep trying to make those steps happen.”

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