An Expression of Gratitude

One man’s gift expands clinical care for future patients

While being treated at UVA Cancer Center, David Rathburn saw an opportunity to help the people who were helping him.

“The medical team had such an impact on my cancer journey,” says David, of Keswick, Virginia. “I could see how incredibly hard they worked in the oncology department, in particular, and how busy they are because so many people, unfortunately, are affected by this terrible disease.”

When David was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2016, his gastroenterologist recommended UVA for treatment. Paired with Dr. Kaur and radiation oncologist Dr. Einsley-Marie Janowski through the “luck of the draw,” he was successfully treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. His cancer went into remission for about 18 months.

Then in 2019, when David was diagnosed with a recurrence, he made sure Dr. Kaur and Dr. Janowski were on his team once again.

“Both of these doctors were truly available to me during this entire journey—not just during office hours, but any time that I reached out to them,” says David. “They were encouraging but factual. These relationships were great because I felt like they gave me all the information and data I needed to make good decisions about what course to take. I was very pleased, satisfied, and comfortable with their work.”

As an expression of gratitude for the care he received, David Rathburn and Jayne Rathburn recently made a gift to support two new advanced practice providers—one in colon cancer, and another in head and neck cancer—for two years. These specialists, working under the direction of medical oncologist Dr. Varinder Kaur, will provide clinical care, expanding the Cancer Center’s ability to help more patients.

“This gift will allow us to see more patients every day, and to see them more quickly,” says Dr. Kaur, who treated David. “Patients will have a shorter wait time for appointments, and that will allow us to provide the best care possible in a timely fashion.”

Dr. Kaur has also been impressed by David’s strength and positive outlook, and his support of UVA Cancer Center.

“He has been an exceptional patient of mine,” says Dr. Kaur. “I have been struck by his sheer grit to tackle this diagnosis, and the determination to not let it overwhelm his life.”

“David’s gift jumpstarted the whole process of expanding our team,” adds Dr. Kaur. “Donations directed towards research and clinical care have an important role in advancing cancer care. I am very grateful for his generous donation.”

Guided by his strong Christian faith, David gives back with the wish of enhancing the overall experience for future cancer patients at UVA.

“My ultimate hope is that we will find a cure or ultimately eradicate this disease,” says David. “But this investment reflects my gratitude. I live in a community with a great medical center and a number of really outstanding practitioners who are available to support people with significant medical needs. I’m happy to support their work in delivering cancer care.”