Don and Angie Ward: Motivating Others to Join the Fight

“We contribute so they can cure,” says Don Ward. “That’s our philosophy.”

Don and his wife Angie Ward have been supporting The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) for more than 10 years, but in November 2015 they decided to take a new approach in honor of Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a global day of generosity, celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The concept, which kicked off in 2012, is a day when individuals, families and organizations come together to give back.

As passionate philanthropists in the fight against cancer, Don and Angie committed $50,000 to match all gifts to the OSUCCC – James on Giving Tuesday. The Wards were delighted and surprised by the generosity their matching gift inspired. Excluding the Wards’ match, donors gave over $150,000 in a single day, which is more than triple the amount raised for the OSUCCC – James during Giving Tuesday 2014.

“A lot of people don’t realize that $20 or $50 can multiply and make a difference. That’s what it’s all about,” says Angie.

“That $20 makes a difference when it’s added with everyone else’s $20. It all adds up.”

Don and Angie say that the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research inspired them to make their first gift to the OSUCCC – James.

“Our kids are about the same age as Chris and Stefanie, and we lived in a neighboring county. We’ve been following Chris’ career from the very beginning. We got to meet Stefanie on a tour of The James, and it was a special moment.”

The annual meeting of the Knox County Alumni Association was a turning point for Don and Angie’s philanthropy. There, they met renowned physician and professor David E. Schuller, MD. As director emeritus of the OSUCCC and CEO emeritus of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Dr. Schuller has been a leader in the fight against cancer for over four decades.

“Dr. Schuller came to the meeting to speak about cancer research and the great work being done at The James, and it struck a chord. I wanted to get involved,” says Don.

From there, Don contacted Dr. Schuller to find out what he and Angie could do to help. Among their gifts to the OSUCCC – James, Don and Angie made a gift as a tribute to their daughter who passed away in 2010. The OSUCCC – James named the Kelly Ward Lancaster Care Team Education Center, located on the 21st floor of The James, to honor their gift. And the Ward family connection doesn’t end there.

“Our godson teaches in a fellowship program from that room, and we know it’s a very busy space,” says Don. “We wanted to create a living tribute, and a space for learning seemed fitting.”

Angie adds that they feel good about supporting the OSUCCC – James because, “You know the bulk of it is going to research. It all comes back to credibility. We trust them to use our gift properly, in a way that truly makes a difference.”

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