Diane Nye and Michael Rayden

New Cancer Chair Will Foster Ferocity Against Fearsome Foe

For Diane Nye and husband Michael Rayden, philanthropy is important both personally and professionally, and supporting life-saving cancer research and treatment at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) is a top priority.

In addition to their recent personal gift of $2.5 million to establish the Diane Nye and Michael Rayden Chair in Innovative Cancer Research, Rayden also facilitated a corporate gift of $2.5 million from Tween Brands, Inc., the New Albany-based company he has run as CEO since 1996. The Tween Brands gift will be celebrated with the naming of the Pediatric Radiation Oncology Suite at the new James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

“Philanthropy is important to us here,” says Rayden, pointing to Tween Brands’ previous gift to Nationwide Children’s Hospital to name their lobby, as well as the company’s commitment to the United Way and other local organizations. “This is a giving group of people. Our business is about women, children and family, and our gift to name the Pediatric Radiation Oncology Suite of the new James ties in with our philanthropic vision.”

The gift also coordinates nicely with Tween Brands’ previous giving to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, whose patients are transported to the OSUCCC – James for radiation treatments. Designers are working to ensure the décor of the Pediatric Radiation Oncology Suite is similar to that of the Tween Brands’ lobby at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Says David Schuller, MD, vice president of expansion and outreach at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, “We want the environment of our pediatric radiation oncology suite to be familiar to our patients being treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, to decrease the anxiety of coming to another hospital for both the children and their parents.”

Their personal gift to create the Diane Nye and Michael Rayden Chair in Innovative Cancer Research enables the OSUCCC – James to stay on the cutting edge of cancer research. Currently, the Chair is being leveraged to recruit top talent in cancer genomics to Ohio State. However, in the future, hospital leadership may appoint a top researcher from another area to the Nye and Rayden Chair. The Chair provides leadership the agility to make decisions based on what is most critical to advancing cancer research.

“Cancer, as a disease, keeps evolving,” says Nye. “My hope is that creating this type of Chair provides an opportunity for researchers to match the fierceness of the opponent. As quickly as cancer is moving, I want the innovative thinking to be moving.”

Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of the OSUCCC and chief executive officer of The James, appreciates how the Chair allows for flexibility in future years. “As needs in cancer research shift, the Chair that Diane Nye and Michael Rayden have established will enable our successors to adapt and remain nimble. We are incredibly grateful for the foresight their gift permits.”

Nye and Rayden cite their strong affiliation with the OSUCCC – James, fostered over time and encouraged through friends, as influential in their decision to give. Several of the couple’s friends, including Yaromir Steiner and Judy and Steve Tuckerman, have been vocal in their support for The James and prompted the couple to get involved. Through the years, attending numerous events and meeting with top leadership at The James and the Wexner Medical Center, Nye and Rayden have also become passionate advocates.

It is a passion that transcends Big Ten rivalries. “Even though I went to Penn State and Diane went to Michigan,” says Rayden, “we’re still quite proud of Ohio State and what it does for the community. Dr. Schuller and Dr. Caligiuri are so impressive to us, and we like how they go after top talent.”

In addition to their generous giving, Nye also supports the OSUCCC – James through her recent appointment to The James Foundation Board. She looks forward to serving with like-minded individuals dedicated to beating cancer. “There isn’t anyone you speak to today who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way,” says Nye. “This issue needs attention, great minds and critical financial support.”

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