Legacy Society Member Stories

“It’s a way to help make sure others have the same positive experience you’ve had.”

Hearing the dreaded news of a cancer diagnosis turned life upside down for Priscilla and Dick Freeman. Married 29 years, the Oswego couple feared what lied ahead. Seeking the best medical care for Priscilla was their priority, with the goal of extending her life and their time together. This news would eventually send Dick on a new path, one focused on helping others in Oswego impacted by cancer. 

These life-changing events occurred more than two decades ago. In their quest for the best cancer treatment, the couple finally found themselves in the care of Dr. Jonathan Wright, an oncologist at Upstate University Hospital, who also saw patients at the hospital’s satellite office in Oswego. Dick and Priscilla  knew instantly they were in good hands. The care and compassion they both received touched them deeply. The experience filled them with hope and gave them the courage to face cancer, head on. 

“Dr. Wright was like an angel on earth,” said Dick. “When Priscilla was hospitalized, I was so impressed by the care that he, and every nurse and orderly showed not only to Priscilla and me, but all patients and families on the oncology floor. Even though Priscilla was going through a traumatic time, it was joyous how everyone was treated like family. I still get emotional about it even today.”

While Dick eventually lost his precious wife and best friend to the disease, he will never forget the incredible care that extended Priscilla’s life beyond the normal life expectancy of women stricken with ovarian cancer. Dick began exploring ways he could help others who would also take the same journey as he and Priscilla. 

This led Dick to the Upstate Foundation shortly after Priscilla’s passing to make a legacy gift. He named  the Foundation as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, designating the gift to a patient assistance fund at Upstate’s hematology oncology office in Oswego. Dick shared, “It’s a way to help make sure others have the same positive experience you’ve had.”

Reflecting on his life and time with Priscilla, Dick enthusiastically encourages anyone contemplating making a legacy gift. “Just do it. When you make a gift in memory of a person you’ve lost or in honor of someone who is fighting through this disease, it’s a way to make something good come from it!”

Dick knows Priscilla would be proud of the legacy he is leaving; he only wishes she were here to share the story.

To create your own legacy gift, call the Upstate Foundation at 315-464-4416.


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