Philanthropy in Action

Our exceptional donors and volunteers give in many ways to help us pursue research projects, create programs and provide some of the most advanced medical treatments available today.

“You could see her getting her life back. This program gave her an amazing year to remember.”

Brian Zahra
donor to Healing Journey cancer program, of patient who died

Philanthropy helps patients with cancer

An innovative complementary therapies program for cancer patients, Healing Journey, has inspired the generosity of Modesto-area donors and volunteers since its inception in 2005. Over the years, donors have given more than $172,000 to support our program at Sutter-affiliated Memorial Medical Center.

Healing Journey helps patients undergoing cancer treatment by improving their day-to-day quality of life. The program uses exercise and arts activities, such as yoga, pilates, bicycling, walking, art, music and photography, alongside traditional medical care to help patients cope with their symptoms and the sometimes adverse effects of cancer treatments.

Patients and their families and caregivers can explore activities that interest them, while also enjoying the camaraderie that comes from joining with others on the same healing path.

Healing Journey receives financial and volunteer support every year from individuals and businesses. A Modesto bike shop owner, for example, raises funds in an annual cycling event to benefit the program. In 2013, such community generosity allowed the program to expand its offerings to include aquatic exercise therapy.

Breakthrough research inspires giving

Promising research and clinical trials for a new immunotherapy drug for melanoma prompted doctors at our Sutter-affiliated Center for Melanoma Research and Treatment in San Francisco to begin offering the treatment to their patients. The drug, Nivolumab, harnesses the body’s immune system to fight the disease.

Early results of Nivolumab treatment proved so encouraging that grateful patients donated $1.2 million to our melanoma center in 2013 to support further advances in melanoma care, treatment and research—demonstrating their confidence and hope that clinicians and researchers are on the right path.

The incidence of melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer, has risen in the past 30 years, making the search for more effective treatments more urgent than ever. With philanthropic support, we can discover and offer promising new treatments. For patients like Becky Herry, diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma in 2013, we can give the gifts of life and hope.

Generosity supports compassionate care

Philanthropy continued to support our Sutter Care at Home Hospice program, serving 150,931 Northern California patients and their families. Donors contributed $2.1 million toward home health and hospice services in 2013.

When illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments, our hospice program seeks to improve the quality of patients’ final days with comfort and dignity.

Generosity of every type fuels our program. Volunteers share their time with patients and their families, whether that means running errands or giving caregivers a few hours of respite. Donors’ financial support allows us to provide grief counseling services to patients’ families and friends and helps us offer specialized training to our dedicated volunteers.

Longtime hospice volunteer Fred “Fritz” Harrold, a retired Sacramento automotive dealer, chats with hospice patient Matt Mattson at his home.