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Rachelle Fong (left) with her radiation therapist, Martha, at UNC REX Healthcare, where she was treated for breast cancer. Courtesy of Rachelle Fong.

How One BCRF Supporter Is Giving Back to Research Through Her Will

Breast cancer survivor Rachelle Fong shares how she made her estate reflect the causes she cares about

Like many people, Rachelle Fong has had a few versions of a will at different points in her life. But as relationships changed and busy years passed by, they became outdated. She knew she needed to write a current will but struggled to “overcome the inertia” to do so.

“I feel youthful, but I started to face the stark reality about how much sand was in the bottom of my hourglass versus the top,” the 64-year-old North Carolina–based clinical quality assurance/compliance consultant said with a laugh. “That realization finally gave me just enough impetus to go, ‘You really need to do something, Rachelle.’”

With the momentum she needed to write her will, Rachelle took time to carefully consider how her estate could reflect what’s important to her. Now updated, her will tells a story of who Rachelle is—as an Army veteran, a Chinese and Japanese American, a breast cancer survivor, and more—through her charitable bequests and beneficiary designations.

Rachelle chose to designate BCRF as a beneficiary of a retirement account because she experienced the impact of breast cancer research firsthand.

In 2015, Rachelle was diagnosed with a highly treatable early-stage breast cancer. That same year, results from the BCRF-supported TAILORx study showed that women who had low scores on the Oncotype DX® gene test could safely forgo chemotherapy.

Because of research, Rachelle, like thousands of women since, chose to skip chemotherapy because of her score, and she was successfully treated with surgery, radiation, and hormonal therapy alone.

“I could make that decision with extreme clarity,” she said. “Experiencing that firsthand, I had such an appreciation for the immense army of people who contributed to that test—the thousands and thousands of women who contributed their data, the work of scientists and technicians and analysts, and the generosity of funders [like BCRF]. I was extremely grateful.”

By including BCRF in her estate plans, Rachelle was also welcomed into BCRF’s Evelyn H. Lauder Legacy Society, named in honor of our late founder, and had her gift matched to maximize her impact. (Through BCRF’s Legacy Challenge, for every $10 supporters give to BCRF in their estate plans this year, a group of generous donors is giving $1 to BCRF research now, up to $25,000 per person.)

Rachelle said BCRF “had everything going for it” compared to other breast cancer nonprofits—both in its singular mission to fund breast cancer research and its ease of declaring her legacy gift with her estate planner.

Rachelle’s experience has also given her a new appreciation for the power of a single dollar. Her advice to others: You don’t need to have a huge estate to make a legacy gift.

“If you’ve been diagnosed or lost loved ones to breast cancer, think about yourself as being one pixel in a huge picture; every single pixel is needed to make an image,” she said. “No contribution, no estate is too small to make a difference for breast cancer.”

To include BCRF in your estate plans, click here for information and resources to get started. Already included BCRF in your plans? We’d like to personally thank you and welcome you to the Evelyn H. Lauder Legacy Society or Catalyst Circle. Complete this form online, or print and mail this form. Questions? Contact Amanda Johnson at (646) 497-2680 or legacy@bcrf.org.

Donate By Check

If you prefer sending a donation by check, you can mail it to:

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

60 East 56th St., 8th Floor

New York, NY 10022

Other Options

From paying tribute to a loved one to workplace giving, there are a variety of ways to support research.

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