A Family Establishes Their Legacy
Ten years ago, Russell Newell passed away just four weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. His wife, Carol Byrnes Newell passed away within eight days of her cancer diagnosis in 2010.
"Cancer has really had an impact on our family and our friends," said the Newells' daughter, Karen Tiburzi. "We've found that the hardest thing to face is not knowing what to do."
Thanks to a generous planned gift from the Newells, Karen hopes other families facing cancer have someone special by their side to guide them through the daunting journey —; a nurse navigator.
Russell was a leader on the West Jersey Health Foundation Board, the predecessor of the Virtua Foundation Board of Trustees, and planned a legacy gift to Virtua in memory of his grandson, Michael Allan Tiburzi. Because of their very personal experience with cancer, Karen, her husband Allan and their daughter, Wendy Tiburzi Yancey, directed their family's meaningful support to the Oncology Nurse Navigation program at Virtua, in memory of Michael.
"My parents left this legacy and wanted to make an impact in memory of my son, Michael. He and my father were incredibly close, and they always wanted to do something in his memory," said Karen. "I hope this gift allows families to have the confidence and peace to go through their journey."
The Oncology Nurse Navigators often serve as a partner and friend, helping patients better understand their diagnoses and care plans. They seek to alleviate some of the stress and confusion that patients may experience in the days following a diagnosis by streamlining communication between patients and doctors, coordinating appointments and just answering questions.
"We are incredibly grateful for the impact this gift will have on the patients we serve every day," said Virtua Director of Oncology Services, Lisa Shalkowski.