Women's Board President Cindy Chereskin with Benjamin Chereskin

Couple Donates $1 Million to Cancer Research

Cynthia Chereskin is no stranger to the ills of cancer. Several years ago, her husband, Benjamin Chereskin, was diagnosed with tongue cancer and 11 years ago, her father, Glen Johnson, had bladder cancer. Both cases required innovative treatment, which they found at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Other hospitals treat oral cancers by removing portions of the tongue and surrounding tissues, but the University of Chicago Medicine’s innovative treatment approach involves a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy that is used to shrink the tumor. Fortunately, Benjamin’s cancer responded to therapy, and he did not need surgery.

Cynthia’s father was told by a physician at another hospital there was nothing they could do for his bladder cancer. However, he found hope through Gary Steinberg, MD, the Bruce and Beth White Family Professor of Surgery, who removed Glen’s bladder and reconstructed a new one using intestinal tissue.

“I feel incredibly lucky to live in Chicago and to have the University of Chicago in our backyard with these amazing doctors who have done so much in the name of research and medical science,” said Cynthia.

In honor of her father, the Chereskins donated $1 million to the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their founding gift established the Janet D. Rowley Discovery Fund, which supports the most compelling ideas in cancer research.

“Our work is devoted to finding better ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer,” says Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, the Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor of Medicine and director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We are so grateful for this generous gift, which will facilitate the translation of new discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic that extend and improve lives affected by cancer.”

The fund honors the late Janet D. Rowley, whose pioneering discoveries in cancer genetics at the University of Chicago ushered in the current era of genome-guided research and treatment. It will support research that emulates her own legendary path: Novel ideas and collaborative work that can lead to world-changing discoveries.

This new fund gives the leadership of the Comprehensive Cancer Center the flexibility to invest in the most promising research. Cynthia, who serves as president the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’s Board, believes more comprehensive research is needed.

“It is our hope that others will join us in supporting the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center to accelerate the pace of innovation and discovery in the fight against cancer.”

To support the Comprehensive Cancer Center, make a gift to the Janet D. Rowley Discovery Fund today.

Medicine & Biological Sciences Development Campaign