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Highlights • Charitable Foundations

Thomas J. "T" Walsh was an avid golfer and a good friend to many. He was also a patient and an advocate of Allegheny Health Network's Western Pennsylvania Cancer Institute until losing his battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

For cancer patients and families: The friends of "T" pay it forward

Thomas J. "T" Walsh was an avid golfer and a good friend to many. He was also a patient and an advocate of Allegheny Health Network's Western Pennsylvania Cancer Institute until losing his battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

T's friends and family searched for a way to continue to celebrate his life and to show gratitude for the exceptional clinical care that T received at the Cancer Institute, located at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. In 2009, they collaborated with the West Penn Hospital Foundation to establish "Teeing Off for T," an annual memorial golf outing to pay it forward and benefit the institute.

Now gearing up for its eighth year, the event has raised more than $250,000. "As we learned through my dad's experience, the institute already provides extraordinary care and has top-notch research, equipment and facilities," explained T's son, Rich Walsh, who’s also a television sports anchor in Pittsburgh.

"We wanted to do something more—something for the patients and their families," said Rich. "So through the outing, we raise funds to help create the most comfortable and caring environment possible at the institute." In 2015, for example, funds helped the bone marrow transplant unit purchase new sofa beds and televisions for patient rooms.

"The patients and families recognize that we are getting health care right, and they are thankful. Many want to show their gratitude," explained Jason Zajac, chief development officer for Allegheny Health Network. "Our hospital foundations and our philanthropy teams help connect families to ways that they can make a difference for the next families.

"Sometimes a donor wants to invest in research or clinical care, sometimes they want to volunteer, sometimes they want to tell others about their experience, have an event or sponsor a scholarship," explained Jason. "We are very grateful to the family of T Walsh and to all the other families, whose generosity never ceases."

Patients of Allegheny Health Network and their families have led similar philanthropic efforts on behalf of ovarian cancer research, colon cancer awareness, melanoma detection and prevention, and breast cancer screening.


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