A CEO's giving spirit
Paul Oreffice is well known by people around the country, and even the world, for his fascinating personal story – that of an Italian immigrant who arrived in the United States at age 18 speaking very little English and worked his way through the ranks to become CEO of a major corporation.
Equally important, but perhaps shared less frequently, is the story of Paul’s generosity and commitment to giving back. Paul, along with his wife Jo Ann, has been an active volunteer and donor for numerous causes and organizations. That generosity extends to Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, which Paul says, “is simply a “newer, more modern version of MD Anderson.” And he would know.
In 2009, Paul and Jo Ann received the news that he had follicular lymphoma cancer. Paul’s business experiences had taught him how to turn obstacles and setbacks into achievements and success, and his battle against cancer would be no different. As the result of previous research into the country’s top cancer centers Paul was already engaged with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, so it was a natural choice for his treatment and care.
Paul’s amazing team of doctors and other care professionals at MD Anderson turned a grim diagnosis into hope and healing and he is currently cancer-free. His positive experience led to personal involvement with the cancer center as a donor and volunteer. Paul currently serves on MD Anderson’s Board of Visitors, an appointed board of volunteers who advance the institution’s mission.
In the years since his treatment, Paul has referred numerous family, friends and acquaintances to MD Anderson for care and is always proud to share their amazing stories of healing. So, when it was announced that MD Anderson would partner with Banner Health to bring the world’s leading model of cancer care to the Valley where Paul and Jo Ann have a home, he was thrilled and quickly looked to get involved.
In addition to Paul’s willingness to share his personal story to help and encourage others, he and Jo Ann have made a generous gift of $200,000 to Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. The donation will support a new cancer prevention education program in partnership with a local school district.
In addition, Paul recently celebrated his 85th birthday and asked for donations to Banner MD Anderson in lieu of gifts – a gesture that generated more than $40,000 to support the many programmatic and operational elements of the cancer center that are made possible through philanthropy.