Dana Walden Backs the Cancer Center That Helped Saved Her Mother’s Life

Variety | 10/8/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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Dana Walden came to appreciate the work of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center the hard way — after her mother, Sheril Friedman, was diagnosed with a rare form of follicular lymphoma in 2008. Walden, one of the most powerful executives in television in her role as chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment, was directed to Jonsson by her close friend Jay Sures, co-president of UTA, whose father also battled cancer.

Another highly regarded cancer center that examined Friedman recommended a radical course of chemotherapy. At the time, Friedman was 71, in good health and had no symptoms. “The notion that we were going to make her really sick to get her well — it was just not making sense to me,” Walden recalls.

Jonsson - Team - Approach - Lauren - Pinter-Brown

The Jonsson team took a different approach. Oncologist Lauren Pinter-Brown suggested they try what was then a relatively new drug called Rituxan, which offers some of the benefits of chemotherapy without the debilitating side effects. The risk was that some patients didn’t respond to the drug. Fortunately, Friedman did. Her stage 3 lymphoma has been in remission for more than 10 years.

Not surprisingly, after Friedman’s experience, Jonsson became a focal point of charitable giving for Walden and her husband, Matt Walden. Dana Walden also serves on the board of the center’s fundraising arm, the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation.

Introduction - Place - Person - Disease - Lot

“It was an incredible introduction to a place where I felt like they treated the whole person, not just the disease, with a lot of compassion and an extraordinary amount of information at their fingertips,” Walden says.

The experience also led to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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