Man Honors Wife's Memory Through Support Services For Other Cancer Patients
The New Yorker of the Week is a man who is honoring his late wife by helping patients with cancer and their families. NY1’s Sandra Endo filed the following report.
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Seventy-five-year-old Joseph Brodoff did not expect to be living the later years of his life alone. But when cancer took away Marilyn, his wife of 40 years, he wanted to do something to keep her memory alive. That is when he came up with the idea of Marilyn's Place, a haven for cancer patients.
"To have something that would be in her name because of the compassionate woman she was, I didn't want her death to be the end of it all,” said Brodoff.
Brodoff, a retired salesman from Brooklyn, created Marilyn's Place, a private room of respite at Phillips Ambulatory Hospital at Beth Israel, the same place where Marilyn spent many months sick. He wanted to give cancer patients who were receiving chemotherapy and radiation a place of solace and relaxation between their treatments. And with his own money and some fundraising he was able to fill the room with comfortable couches, books, magazines, music, and movies, making it a home away from home.
"Patients who were sitting in a chair for an extend amount of time will be able to watch a movie and maybe take their mind off of what's happening to their body,” explained Brodoff.
Barbara Donovan used Marilyn's Place several times while being treated for throat cancer. She said it was the perfect spot to escape the staring eyes of a waiting room.
"Me and my husband would come in here,” she said. “I had a feeding tube and I would be able to do the feeding in private. I could watch TV, or read a magazine. It was just a wonderful place to go to. I was pretty tired during the treatments so I just needed a place where I could just sit back and relax."
"It has been a lifesaver to them,” added Cindy Turkeltaub, a social worker at Beth Israel. “It gives them a place where they meet other patients, and when the patients go for treatments, it gives the family a place to breath."
And Joseph is not stopping with just one Marilyn's Place. He recently got the go-ahead to construct Marilyn's Place and Learning Center at St. Luke's Roosevelt, complete with computers and research material. It will give patients the opportunity to learn about their diagnosis.
"He just doesn't sign a check but he comes by, he makes sure the water is here, the books are ok,” said Dr. Stuart Fleishman of Beth Israel Cancer Center. “He is very hands on."
So for making cancer, just a bit easier to cope with, out of an enduring love for his wife, Joseph Brodoff is NY1’s New Yorker of the Week.