Catherine Prince Fund Helps Cancer Patients With Need

Catherine Prince headshot largeCatherine Prince was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She worked as a housing market analyst, had two children, and in 1992, married her husband Gary Sands. When Catherine was diagnosed with lung cancer, she did not let her own situation stand in her way of helping others in need.

One day, during the time of her treatment, Catherine was standing in line at the pharmacy waiting for an important prescription when she noticed that the woman in front of her was denied her full prescription. It turned out that she did not have enough money to pay for an entire month’s worth of medication. When Catherine got to the front of the line, she asked how much her own prescription would have cost without insurance. The answer: instead of owing $10, she would have paid $2,500.

Astounded, and determined, Catherine vowed to help prevent this situation from happening to more patients dealing with cancer.

“While obviously glad that she was fortunate to have adequate insurance coverage, Catherine was moved by the realization that there were many people who were financially unable to obtain the same excellent care she was,” says her husband Gary Sands.

Catherine decided to endow a fund at Henry Ford Health System: the Catherine Prince Fund. The Prince Fund assists those who lack health insurance or the resources to afford the costs of cancer beyond their regular medical care. Although its initial purpose was to support prescription drug costs, in later years it has expanded to support COBRA payments and the cost of transportation to and from treatment.

Catherine entrusted Henry Ford staff with identifying potential recipients, and since then, her endowment has grown from $50,000 to over $1 million, thanks to additional gifts from her family and from the Employee and Physician Giving Campaign.

Tragically, Catherine passed away from lung cancer in 2001, but her life and legacy continue. Each year, the endowment distributes thousands of dollars to patients with need, a lasting legacy to Catherine’s generosity and spirit. In 2018, the Prince Fund has distributed more than $166,000 in support for transportation needs so that patients can get to and from their appointments on time.

“The Prince Fund helps cancer patients with the ancillary expenses associated with cancer treatment,” says Gary. “A small contribution to cancer research is unlikely to have a discernable impact. But the same amount used to pay for prescription drugs can show tangible results.”

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