Andy Sankin: Discovering The James as a Home Away From Home

When a doctor in Andy Sankin’s home state of Florida recommended an aggressive course of treatment for Sankin’s immune system as a part of his treatment for renal cell carcinoma, he wanted a second opinion.

The doctor showed Sankin an academic article on natural killer cells co-authored by Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and chief executive officer of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Sankin, who had no previous Ohio State connections, called friend Ed Cooperman, an Ohio State Moritz College of Law alumnus and Ohio State Foundation Board member. Cooperman introduced Sankin to Caligiuri, who offered a second opinion that drastically differed from the first.

“He saved me from a pretty unpleasant fate,” says Sankin, “as the original opinion I received was way off base and would have been harmful.” Sankin left his visit to Columbus impressed not only with Caligiuri—who happily took the time to confer with him—but also with Ohio State in general.

“I was really impressed with what I saw in terms of the collegiality, the interplay among the various disciplines,” remembers Sankin. “The way the resources of the University are brought together to accomplish goals and solve problems is pretty cool.”

He has since returned to the OSUCCC – James numerous times, including for surgery with Patrick Ross, MD, PhD. “Dr. Ross inspired confidence, and I’m a tough customer. He made the experience as easy as possible, considering the circumstances. When I needed my chest tube changed at 2:30 in the morning, there he was. And he didn’t need to be.”

Sankin, who has been seen at approximately 15 medical centers in the past couple of years, including some of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, cannot say enough about his Ohio State experience. “Top to bottom, every single person has been awesome,” he says. “And it’s not by happenstance—it’s because of leadership and the tone that has been set there.” In appreciation for his positive experience, Sankin has made a planned gift to endow the CEO position at the OSUCCC – James.

As he fights cancer, Sankin, a semi-retired hedge fund executive, practices boxing and ultimate fighting—sports that makes him “feel alive”—alongside some of the best athletes in the world. He still visits The James and Dr. Ross for checkups.

Sankin credits Ohio State with having gotten him into a place where he can continue to train aggressively. “But for Ohio State,” says Sankin, “I would not have the opportunity to live the quality of life that I’m leading at the moment.”

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