Real-Life Stories

Giving Back After Cancer

“I believe anyone accepting the privilege of serving on a board also needs to support that organization as a donor and as a knowledgeable advocate.” - Jan Lennon

Jan Lennon had volunteered for years with cancer research and support organizations. But her own breast cancer diagnosis was a surprise. It was an aggressive strain. Standard treatments just wouldn’t be enough. She needed more. She needed the best.

So she turned to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Clinical Cancer Center. As a Froedtert patient, Jan joined a clinical trial. With access to advanced and unconventional treatments, she found an advantage over her aggressor. A diagnosis that could have easily ended in tragedy was stopped short. And Jan became a survivor.

Not just a patient at Froedtert, Jan is a dedicated long-time volunteer for the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital. Her late husband, Dr. Edward J. Lennon served as Dean and President of the Medical College of Wisconsin so she knew first-hand about the amazing care that Froedtert patients receive. She didn’t think twice when it was her turn to be a patient. She chose Froedtert.

Because Jan believes in “walking the talk” she is a generous annual contributor to the Froedtert Hospital Foundation. She is a member of the Froedtert Hospital Foundation board of directors and was a key member of the committee that organized Heritage and Hope, a gala fundraising event celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Froedtert Hospital. When Froedtert needs a volunteer, her hand shoots up, every time. 

It’s not just Froedtert that benefits from her generosity of spirit. She’s done so much for our community that she’s being honored with the 2013 Todd Wehr Volunteer Award from The Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southeastern Wisconsin. “I believe anyone accepting the privilege of serving on a board also needs to support that organization as a donor and as a knowledgeable advocate.”

Given all of this, it’s probably not a surprise that Jan would take her financial contributions to the next level. Demonstrating her commitment to Froedtert now and for the future, Jan has made a planned gift – a pledge to support Froedtert through her estate.

Moved by the experiences of her niece, the gift will establish Sharry’s Fund to support neurosciences for clinical research related to multiple sclerosis. Jan intends for the fund to “honor Sharon’s courage, determination, and grace in facing a disease that has robbed her of the most basic freedoms of movement and speech so many of us take for granted.”

Jan’s estate gift is through a designation of an IRA – a smart way to make a planned gift. Her pledge makes her a member of our Signature Society, a group of supporters who have expressed their intention to include the Froedtert Hospital Foundation in their estate plans. She hopes that it will inspire others to fund research efforts.It’s how she does things. Challenging herself and others to support and give back. And that she has done – given back to the place that provided support and care when she needed it most.


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