I learned about one’s duty to give from my parents. So there was never a question of whether or not to give, but rather how much to give? To whom? And when? A “legacy gift,” something large enough to make an impact, has always been part of my plan and has long been included in my will. But I re-thought that concept after my husband Bill was diagnosed with ALS in June, not long after our 30th wedding anniversary. Although he had been struggling with unexplained symptoms for months, the diagnosis was still a shock, as he had been active, trim, and sick only a few days during the 35 years I had known him. It didn’t take long for me to decide to leave a legacy gift for ALS research.
When the realities of this "orphan disease" became clear, however – no cure, little hope, and not a single clinical trial for ALS in Greater Cincinnati-- I decided not to wait. I would make the legacy gift now. It is the largest donation I have ever made by far, but it is a fitting tribute to my dear husband and the father of our two precious children. I realize that it may not help Bill, who grows weaker and thinner before my eyes. But I take comfort knowing that it is likely to help move ALS research ahead for others who will inevitably follow in our footsteps. This legacy gift, though large by my standards, is in fact on the small side. That is why I chose to make this gift to the Mayfield Education & Research Foundation, a lean and growing organization that is proving adept at "precision funding" – the underwriting of small, high-potential projects that could become the building blocks of larger, more potent projects. Under the stewardship of the Mayfield Education & Research Foundation, I believe this gift in honor of Bill has every opportunity to make a difference in our community.
On September 14, 2015, Bill Starr passed away after bravely withstanding the progression of this painfully debilitating disease. Cindy looked after him with characteristic grace and courage, and she finds comfort in her work with Mayfield Foundation and the University of Cincinnati Department of Neurology to establish a program here in Cincinnati for ALS research and clinical trials.
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