After her husband died of prostate cancer, Lynn Clark established the Gerald W. Kattke Fund to help meet the everyday needs of University of Chicago Medicine patients. These include expenses for transportation, parking, and medications and medical supplies not covered by insurance, and temporary payment of utility bills. Gerald was an electrical engineer who worked at Lucent Technologies until he retired in 2001. He was an avid genealogist who volunteered for more than 20 years with the Naperville Family History Center. He was also a leader of the Lombard Chapter of the Us TOO Prostate Cancer Education and Support Group.
How did you become connected to the University of Chicago?
My husband, Jerry, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. He was very knowledgeable about the disease and continually researched new treatments. He managed the disease by trying to stay one step ahead. When one treatment failed, as it inevitably did, he was always prepared to try something else. He was drawn to the University of Chicago because of the availability of the latest treatment options. He was also drawn to Dr. Russell Szmulewitz in particular because of his breadth of knowledge and thoughtful approach to decision making. They established a very strong partnership.
What prompted you to establish the fund in memory of your husband?
The true inspiration for the fund was the relationship Jerry developed with Dr. Szmulewitz. I wanted to honor that relationship and the quality of care that he received. Throughout Jerry's care, I was struck by how challenging the logistics of cancer care can be, including the physical challenges of getting to and from treatment and the numerous additional expenses incurred. We were fortunate to have resources to cover those expenses and wanted to provide some support for others who aren't as fortunate.
What do you hope is the outcome of your giving?
My hope is that it will ease the burden, even if just a little. The experience of being in a hospital can be very difficult and isolating. During his chemo treatments, Jerry received a lovely blanket made by the North Shore Senior Center. I was deeply touched. It helped me know that others were thinking of Jerry and wanted to provide some measure of direct support. I hope that this fund will do the same for others.