Cancer Patient Leaves Family Legacy

When Celia Kanzer was being treated for an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center, she viewed her illness as just one of life’s challenges. She approached her prognosis with positivity, pragmatism and gratitude for the care and treatment she received from the doctors and nurses at Kellogg Cancer Center.

When Kanzer passed away, just 18 months after her diagnosis, she left her family with the hope that future patients would benefit from her experience. Kanzer’s husband Bill said, “It was important to Celia that, although the results were not what we'd hoped, we express her gratitude and appreciation to the team at Kellogg after she was gone.”

The family directed memorial donations in Kanzer’s name to support research and patient care at Kellogg Cancer Center. “We can’t say enough about the wonderful care she received,” said daughter Ashley. “Her oncologist, Dr. Britt Hanson, and several nurses even attended her visitation. It was incredibly touching for our family.”

In the months following Kanzer’s passing, daughters Brice and Ashley set off on a campaign to raise additional funds from family and friends to honor their mother and the treatment she received. They decided to use #GivingTuesday, a social media movement to create a day of giving before the start of the holiday season. “We were hoping to raise a few hundred dollars,” said Brice, “but were blown away by people’s generosity.” To date, more than $10,000 has been raised for Kellogg Cancer Center in Kanzer’s memory.

Philanthropic support from patients and their families plays a vital role in every aspect of NorthShore’s comprehensive, patient-centered care. Donations support clinical research and ensure that patients receive vital support services such as nutritional counseling, psychosocial resources, financial counseling, medication assistance and survivorship services.

    Celia Kanzer

The Kanzer family from left to right: Brice Kanzer, Celia Kanzer, Myles Kanzer, Bill Kanzer, Quinn Colombo, Ashley Kanzer Colombo and Ford Colombo

“All of the advances in cancer treatment that are now saving lives originated as research,” said Britt Hanson, DO, oncologist at NorthShore. “Clinical research tests how well new therapies, medicines or treatments work and whether they're safe and effective. Philanthropy is crucial to supporting Kellogg Cancer Center’s robust clinical research program, offering patients and families a ray of hope when no other treatment options exist.”

“It was a privilege to know and care for such a remarkable woman with a devoted and loving family,” said Dr. Hanson.

“Our mom lived her life with an extraordinary spirit of generosity,” said Brice. “We are incredibly proud to carry on that legacy and help further cancer research in whatever small way we can.”

If you would like to support Kellogg Cancer Center, please contact Lisa Rietmann, Director of Philanthropy, at 224.364.7230 or

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