A Lifelong Passion

Organization: Story Topics:
Fundraising, Philanthropy

Orange Coast Memorial supporters Joanne O’Heany, and her husband, Terence O’Heany, M.D., have dedicated over 55 years of their lives to the fight against cancer. Even before they met in Toronto in 1961, Joanne was working with the Canadian Cancer Society. “Although I had no personal family experience with cancer, I felt that if I was going to ask for money in support of a cause, I wanted it to be something that affected a large number of people,” says Joanne. Having just graduated from medical school, Dr. O’Heany dated Joanne for eight months. They married in 1962 and a few years later moved to New York where Dr. O’Heany trained at Sloan Kettering to specialize in gynecologic oncology. They headed west to California in 1967 where Dr. O’Heany was instrumental in founding one of the first hospital-based cancer centers in Orange County and served as its medical director for many years.

In 1984, after having raised their son and daughter, Joanne began volunteering again, this time for the American Cancer Society at their Discovery Shop thrift store in Corona del Mar. In 1994, she became director of the local American Cancer Society Information Center which moved to the campus of Orange Coast Memorial in 2006.  Over the years, Joanne has expanded the role of the center beyond just printed educational literature and established a complimentary wig and prosthesis bank for women undergoing treatment. She also hosts monthly Look Good, Feel Better workshops that demonstrate make-up techniques and provide tips on how to deal with hair loss using hairpieces, hats, and scarves. The center also provides donated pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and clothes to patients and their family members. It was this longtime, shared passion to help cancer patients that prompted the O’Heanys to recently make a generous IRA Charitable Rollover gift to the Orange Coast Memorial Foundation in support of the hospital’s MemorialCare Cancer Institute. By transferring their gift directly from their IRA to Orange Coast Memorial, the O’Heanys avoid income tax on the distribution and are able to touch even more lives with their generosity.

“We are pleased to support the cancer program at Orange Coast Memorial, and help those who are fighting this devastating disease.” says Joanne.