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Family’s goal to beat cancer results in new endowment for hematology/oncology

January 2014

by Saren Spicer

Harold and Sara McDonald
Harold and Sara McDonald
When Harold McDonald was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer, rather than "just get his affairs in order" as was suggested, he decided to fight the disease. With treatment at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at the UT Health Science Center, he was able to spend more quality time with his family and participated in many activities including walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.

It was during his treatment that McDonald met several fellows in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. A fellow in hematology/oncology is an M.D. who has completed three years of internal medicine residency upon entering the three-year hematology/oncology program.

McDonald enjoyed and appreciated the company of these "bright young people."

"The fellows were so compassionate and full of optimism," said his son John McDonald, D.D.S. "They buoyed his spirits and gave him hope."

In memory of their father and to honor their mother, Sara, and her loving support, the three McDonald children - Linda McDonald Rowe, Kathleen Herman and Dr. John McDonald - decided to create a permanent endowment bearing their parents’ names for the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the School of Medicine. This endowment establishes an award to support the fellows’ activities in oncology research. Each year an outstanding fellow will be named a McDonald Scholar.

Sara McDonald said, "We want to support the research of these brilliant and immensely talented doctors so they may apply their strengths in cancer research with opportunities for discovery that touch the lives of thousands."

Sara McDonald speaks highly of the award’s first recipient, Lindsay Peterson, M.D. Dr. Peterson studies pancreatic tumor suppression and increased chemotherapy response. "I am so impressed with Lindsay and all her accomplishments and research," she said.

Endowments such as the McDonald’s are crucial to the support of breakthrough research. Their gift not only advances the innovative research by outstanding, young investigators but also brings the promise of hope to future patients.

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Updated 7/30/14