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Free of cancer and full of thanks

Annual Report - Annual Report - Winter 2014

By Sarah Watson

Gift of gratitude boosts head and neck cancer research

Charles Stiefel says he owes his life to the physicians and staff at MD Anderson’s Head and Neck Center. In return, he and his wife, Daneen, have pledged $10 million to help the institution turn research into more effective treatments with fewer side effects.

Charles sought treatment at MD Anderson after being diagnosed in Miami in 2006 with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

“Daneen and I visited four top cancer centers, and we chose MD Anderson as the place that would give me the highest chance of survival,” says Charles, former chair and chief executive officer of Stiefel Laboratories and a member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors. “All of my doctors are highly respected global thought leaders in their areas of oncology.”

Charles is cancer-free today — thanks, he says, to his care team: Merrill Kies, M.D., professor in Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology; David Rosenthal, M.D., professor in Radiation Oncology; and Randal Weber, M.D., chair of Head and Neck Surgery.

“If not for the incredibly dedicated and skilled oncologists from the Head and Neck Center, I’m certain I wouldn’t be alive today,” he says. “Daneen and I feel humbled and thankful to be able to make this gift.”

The funds will support research and treatment programs within MD Anderson’s Head and Neck Cancer Program, under Weber’s direction.

The Raleigh, N.C., couple previously established the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Chair in Cancer Research with a $1 million gift in 2009. In honor of their most recent generosity, the center will be renamed the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Center for Head and Neck Cancer.

“Dr. Weber has conceived several game-changing ideas to improve patient outcomes for future generations,” says Charles. “I’m confident that this gift will help transform these ideas into reality.”

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