South Bay family continues legacy of giving with $100,000 donation to Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute

Recently, Cindy Bender-Farber and Richard Farber presented a check for $100,000 to the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. The donation will support comprehensive care, research and support programs for more than 800 children affected by cancer each year.

“We are committed to providing quality and advanced care to our patients with cancer and serious blood disorders,” says Jacqueline Casillas, M.D., M.S.H.S, medical director, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “This donation will support comprehensive care, research and support programs for more than 800 children affected by cancer each year.”

The Bender family has a storied history with the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute. Cindy’s parents, Shirley Jean and George J. Bender were long-time neighbors with the late Jerry Z. Finklestein, M.D., who served as the founding medical director of the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute.

The Bender family supported the Annual Champions Run for Life “Torch Run” fundraising event. “Torch Run” is an Olympic-style relay race filled with uplifting moments as patients carry a torch — a symbol of hope for a cure — as they walk, run, wheel or are carried through a one-eighth mile celebratory lap.

As a two-time breast cancer survivor, “Torch Run” was especially important to Shirley so she became a committee member. George, a Los Angeles City firefighter and plumbing business owner, would run in the “Torch Run,” helping kids cross the finish line of their lap.

“My family and I hold great value to the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute and its mission. We want to continue the legacy of helping young families who are up against the challenging journey of cancer,” said Cindy.

The donation was made in honor of Cindy’s parents, Shirley and George; her sister Deborah Bender-Rowe, who passed away from breast cancer at 29; and Dr. Finklestein. The Bender and Finklestein families have a close connection.

“The Finklestein family has been very dear to us, as they are our neighbors and friends, so this donation is a way to give back to a cause that that holds great meaning to them,” said Cindy.

Cindy remembers Dr. Finklestein as a caring and giving person to whom her family will always be grateful for his friendship and guidance, especially during many health crises, including her sister Deborah’s cancer diagnosis.

“The Bender family’s amazing contribution will support advancements that will benefit future patients and families,” said Dr. Casillas. “We are thankful for their support and are grateful for our continued relationship that will save lives in the years ahead.”

Shirley and George Bender dance at the 2002 Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute 
Profiles of Courage dinner event.

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