Gift establishes the Linde Klein Professorship in Head and Neck Cancer

Gift establishes the Linde Klein Professorship in Head and Neck Cancer

Linde Klein

A lead gift from David and Dawn Klein recently established the Linde Klein Professorship in Head and Neck Cancer at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Wilmot Cancer Institute. The $1.5 million fund will support a dedicated faculty member who is committed to research and clinical care specific to head and neck cancer. The family’s generosity and vision will forever honor David’s late wife, Linde, who lost her battle with head and neck cancer in 2011.

“For rare cancers like Linde had, there is little science that can be applied,” says David Klein, former CEO of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “It’s always been my job to know this and now it’s my passion to try to change this. Our hope is that this fund can be used to help find the resources needed to get to the answers that will help people like Linde.”

“This professorship is critical to advancing Wilmot’s clinical, educational, and scientific efforts specifically related to a rare and challenging cancer,” says Jonathan Friedberg, MD, MMSc, director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute. “Having resources like this to strategically recruit and retain world-class cancer researchers and clinicians is of vital importance. They allow us to better serve our mission and they further our efforts to gain National Cancer Institute designation. Thank you, David, Dawn, and your family for your vision and generosity.”

Head and neck cancers include a wide range of tumors that can affect the soft tissues, glands, organs and other parts of the head and neck. They account for about three percent of all cancers in the US. The main treatment options are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. The type of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, and the patient’s preferences and overall health.

Linde Klein was just 54 years old when she was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2008. “Her life was full,” adds David. “She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother and she served on the board of the Rochester Childfirst Network and was a United Way volunteer. She was incredibly kind and compassionate.”

Adds David, “The Wilmot team develops an understanding of who the patient is and what that person wants. That was certainly the case for Linde. There is no place in the region like Wilmot. We must take advantage of the opportunity to support the important work being done there.”

Learn more about head and neck cancer at Wilmot.

Gifts like these help University of Rochester faculty researchers advance knowledge and drive innovation. With federal research funding decreasing and competition for dollars growing, philanthropy plays an increasingly important role in their work. Support research and learn more about how to make the world better through our Together for Rochester campaign.

Kristine Thompson, September 2020