Dave Wagner

I was diagnosed with sinus cancer in 2005 in Ohio. My sister sent a picture of my tumor to Dr. Jonas Johnson, who is from my hometown and knew my father. Right before I left for the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Johnson called and told me that the Eye & Ear Institute was better. He scheduled a visit for me with Dr. Carl Snyderman.

My tumor was so large, it was rated Stage III. Two surgeries were required to remove the tumor. This was followed by radiation therapy. Several years later, the tumor recurred next to the eye and a more extensive surgery with removal of the eye was necessary. This was followed by an additional radiation boost using a new radiation technology (CyberKnife). This was somewhat experimental at the time as there were only six CyberKnife machines in the U.S. Pittsburgh was the first in the U.S. to have it.

I developed a new cancer in the mouth in 2010. Following surgery for this cancer, I have been cancer free since 2010. It was a positive experience because I lived to talk about it.

I learned about The Eye & Ear Foundation during some of my later visits to Pittsburgh and the newsletter that I was receiving. Not having much of a family to pass my estate to, I decided to make a gift through a planned estate gift. It seemed like a logical thing to do. The impressive credentials and ongoing research at UPMC are at the leading edge of patient care. The surgical training labs are used by surgeons worldwide for remote learning.

In 2010, the Science and Solutions Society was created to honor those who have made a planned estate gift. I was proud to become a charter member. This made good sense since I am a research and development engineer, although in a different industry. Gifting as a planned estate can be rewarding since it can advance knowledge for those in the future. The specific goals of the gift are dictated by the donor and not any outside party with little interest. That is the true end goal of a gift of this type.