Paying it forward
Patients can use Markey Cancer Center Foundation's estate planning service to organize their estate and to give back.
In late October, Michael Schnurr celebrated what he refers to as his “second birthday,” which is the anniversary of his bone marrow transplant. To say it changed his life is an understatement – it saved it.
In 2012, Schnurr was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer – myelodysplastic syndrome. After a few years of biopsies, blood transfusions and chemotherapy, he needed a bone marrow transplant (BMT).
“I couldn’t have been more blessed than to be under the care of Markey’s Dr. Roger Herzig,” Schnurr said. Apprehensive about the transplant, he and Herzig struck a deal based on their shared love of Thoroughbred racing. “If he would let me take one more trip to Del Mar racetrack, I’d come back and have the transplant.”
Schnurr is thankful for Markey, which offered him a great support system at a world-class facility just five minutes down the road.
“The doctors, nurses and staff are truly a team,” he said.
His own experience, coupled with his viewpoint that everyone is touched by cancer, prompted Schnurr to support Markey’s BMT research program through philanthropy. It wasn’t long before he decided to participate in Markey Cancer Foundation’s complementary value-based estate planning service. An estate planning consultant explains how to leave more to heirs, avoid some taxes and support cherished charitable organizations, if the participant chooses to do so.
Ken Turpen of Thompson & Associates worked with Schnurr to organize his financial goals and create a comprehensive plan. Turpen has worked in the field of philanthropy for more than 30 years, including as a gift officer.
“I’ve never seen anything more donor-focused,” he said. “No one is asked for money throughout the process. Most people I chat with do include charitable giving in their estates. That’s because they’re already a champion for those organizations.”
Schnurr considers himself just a regular guy who wants to support research. “It’s the only way we’re going to beat cancer,” he said. “This planning helped me organize my estate in such a way that I can support research even after I’m gone.”
Schnurr didn’t have big “second birthday” plans. He looked forward to playing some golf, weather permitting. Just another day is reason enough to celebrate.