Unlike many patients, Dana Pepper Bouton doesn’t have to travel far to access the high-quality care at City of Hope. She can also manage her treatment expenses, and her husband’s career offers flexibility, allowing him to stay home to care for her when needed.
Over the past five years, Bouton has had multiple chemotherapy infusions at City of Hope and two bone marrow transplants. During that time, she witnessed other patients and families struggling with the unexpected financial burdens of a cancer diagnosis. Bouton, facing the fifth return of her cancer, is on a mission to make life easier for them.
Driven by compassion and gratitude, Bouton established the Dana Pepper Bouton Endowment Fund at City of Hope. The fund will support families facing financial challenges caused by a cancer diagnosis by providing assistance with groceries, meals and transportation. It also may cover child care costs for patients unable to care for their children while undergoing treatment.
“I owe my life to the doctors and nurses at City of Hope, who have continued finding new ways to beat back cancer,” says Bouton, a photographer who is donating proceeds from the sale of her work to the fund. “During my visits to the center, I’ve met so many people just living on a tightrope, and I want to make life easier for families who don’t have many of the advantages I’ve had throughout this battle.”
Bouton was also influenced by the experience of caring for her father, Gene Pepper. When he was diagnosed with lymphoma in March 2021, he was assigned to the same oncologist Bouton herself was seeing for treatment at City of Hope, Leslie Popplewell, M.D. She became her father’s patient advocate and worked with her own team to help her father navigate a terminal diagnosis. Dr. Popplewell and her team treated Pepper with dignity and respect. She felt fortunate she could view cancer care from a different perspective.
With an Eye Toward the Future
Endowment funds last forever. Donors establish them with a principal amount that gets invested and earns revenue. This initial value remains untouched, while earnings from the investment are distributed yearly. By setting up the fund as an endowment, Bouton is ensuring her gift will support many generations of cancer survivors in the future.
This is consistent with an idea she cherishes from her Jewish faith: the importance of creating or continuing a legacy. She recently discovered that her beloved grandmother had been donating to City of Hope for many years. Bouton has visited the historical synagogue on campus and is proud that so many people of her faith have helped to grow City of Hope into a world-class institution.
“I owe my life to the doctors and nurses at City of Hope, who have continued finding new ways to beat back cancer,”
- Dana Pepper Bouton
“Dana’s determination to establish this endowment has been inspiring,” says June Penrod, senior executive director of Planned Giving at City of Hope. “She has spoken very honestly about the uncertainty of living with a terminal illness, and I think seeing her idea come to fruition has been rewarding for her and for all of us. We are so grateful for her example of hope and human kindness.”
“There are so many people in my life I need to thank, including my husband, Dave, and my mother, Marilyn Pepper, who donated a sizeable amount to the endowment,” says Bouton. “Because of them, I’m able to create this fund that will live in perpetuity. I want people who purchase my artwork, or anyone who donates to the fund, to understand they are giving to a great cause.”