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A House Becomes More Than a Home with Cancer Center Planned Gift

A House Becomes More Than a Home with Cancer Center Planned Gift

The first thing most people notice about Jan Coffyn's Laguna Beach home is the breathtaking ocean view. But, Jan sees more.

There's her late mother, Bette, sitting at the kitchen table with coffee in hand, enjoying the ocean view and planning her day. And, her late father, Charles, a Chevrolet fleet manager, arriving home from work, ready to work his passion, his remodeling project.

"Every piece here is their inspiration. The tiles, the beams. Everything. It has a lot of love in it. They spent three years restoring it themselves and it was important to me to honor their efforts," says Jan. "My family is gone now. And, I'd been concerned about what I was going to do with our home."

Her answer came from an unexpected source.

In 2015, Jan was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. Her journey involved many months of chemotherapy and radiation under the care of a UCI Health oncologist. It was not the first medical condition that had tested Jan's resolve. As a child and young adult, she struggled with learning and vision issues. Then, in her early thirties, an optometrist offered an explanation: she had neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue and other issues.

Jan approached the breast cancer diagnosis in much the same way she had the neurofibromatosis-with determination to live her best life and be positive.

"My parents loved this home. Their efforts, what they did, the time they spent - I wanted that to have meaning. So I decided to donate our home to UCI for research," she says.

She learned that she could give her home to the UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center to improve the health of others, she had her answer. The planned gift would honor her parents' legacy and, at the same time, contribute to research and treatment for the cancer and neurofibromatosis that affected her life and the lives of so many others.

Jan's gift will establish two funds. The Charles and Bette Coffyn Endowment for Cancer Patient Support will provide assistance to Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center patients who might otherwise be unable to afford life-saving care. The Charles and Bette Coffyn Endowed Fund for Neurofibromatosis Research and Care is intended to support research, education and treatment that result in improved care for people who live with the challenges of that chronic condition.

"Jan's thoughtful dual gift funds the future of life-saving cancer treatment and research," says Dr. Richard Van Etten, director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Thanks to her generosity, we know that down the road, perhaps at a critical point in time, there will be additional resources available-both to care for Orange County residents in need and to pursue innovative research into inherited cancer susceptibility syndromes like neurofibromatosis with the goal of developing improved treatment for these conditions."

"I felt much joy after I made my decision," Jan says. "I have always enjoyed helping people. Making a donation that will help someone, even though I will never see or meet them, is the most incredible gift I can give."