Giving back to those who gave them hope
When Rhonda Maynard’s father, Robert, was diagnosed with a cancer she’d never heard of in 2012, she immediately started researching the disease—learning everything she could about multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that affects plasma cells.
She had lost her sister to breast cancer only three years before and she was not ready to lose her father, too.
She was surprised to discover one of the nation’s leading multiple myeloma resources right here in Columbus: Multiple Myeloma Opportunities for Research & Education (MMORE), supported through the MMORE for Multiple Myeloma Research Fund (#313431) at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).
From the very first MMORE-sponsored seminar she attended with her father at the Fawcett Center, they received information from advocates and OSUCCC – James physicians about what to expect when living with the disease and the latest treatment options. Perhaps most importantly, MMORE gave them something they didn’t even realize they desperately needed: hope.
Rhonda’s voice quivers with emotion as she describes the impact MMORE has had on her father’s life. “After going through what we had just gone through with my sister, my dad was like, ‘I’m going to die.’ By talking with other patients, their spouses and children about the disease’s stages and treatments they’ve tried, it opened his eyes to a lot of things and gave him some hope.”
Now an Ohio State employee—Rhonda started as administrative associate in the Department of History two years ago—she gives to the MMORE Fund through Campus Campaign. Her father is proud of her support. “MMORE helped me know that I am not alone,” says Robert. As his cancer went into remission and then more recently returned, the family stays attuned to the latest seminars and research funded by MMORE.
“Things are always changing with multiple myeloma,” says Rhonda. “They do a great job of funding groundbreaking research. For instance, MMORE dollars helped develop three new strategies to enhance the immune system’s ability to recognize and kill multiple myeloma cells.” She also gives to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at OSUCCC – James, in memory of her late sister’s cancer journey and life.
Rhonda is passionate about philanthropy, and as the Campus Campaign ambassador for her department, she spreads the word about the impact even modest gifts can have. “It’s something so easy that everyone can do, and you can give as little as one dollar,” says Rhonda. “There are thousands of funds to choose from—no matter what your interests are. If you love flowers, there are funds for that. If you love World War II history, you can give to the World War II study abroad program. As I like to say, ‘There’s a fund for that.’”
And, she notes, giving back to Ohio State is a privilege. “There’s an immense sense of pride that you’re connected to a university that is doing such groundbreaking work. Your gift is staying here locally, but it could have a global impact.”