by Emily O’Donnell
When Richard “Dick” Millham talks about Fox Chase Cancer Center, he can’t help but mention his late wife, Virginia.
“My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 1980s,” says Millham. “She had a mastectomy at another local hospital and was deemed cancer free. But when the cancer metastasized again six years later, I said to her doctor, ‘We’re going to Fox Chase because it’s the only place that can give us hope.’”
Millham knew about Fox Chase, having lived in the Philadelphia area all his life. When he walked through the doors for the first time, he was touched. “I felt a special energy,” he says. “Every employee was so helpful and courteous. The care was just outstanding.”
“Ginny,” as Millham affectionately calls his wife, was treated successfully for three years. Toward the end of her treatment, Virginia needed additional surgery. Afterward, the couple’s insurance company advocate insisted she be sent home, but Virginia’s surgeon felt she needed an extra day to recover.
“Our insurance company came back with a ‘No,’” Millham says. “Any other hospital would have called her a cab and sent her on her way, but her surgeon came to me and said, ‘Dick, I don’t want you to worry. We’ll help you sort this out.’”
Although Virginia died in 1998, Millham was so grateful for the care she received that he contacted Fox Chase’s Bucks County Chapter of the Board of Associates and sent them a check for $10,000. He joined the chapter a few weeks later and has been supporting Fox Chase ever since.
Between his personal contributions and the money he’s raised from friends, Millham has donated close to $500,000 to Fox Chase. Last year, he set up an endowment for cancer research and has included the Center in his estate plan. Milham has even made the Center a beneficiary to his 401K.
Millham’s tireless advocacy for Fox Chase has never let up, even through his own cancer journey when he was diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer.
Through treatment from radiation oncologist Thomas J. Galloway, MD, and surgical oncologist Miriam N. Lango, MD, Millham has been cancer free for more than three years.
These days Millham, now 82 years old, splits his time between working at the insurance agency he founded in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and working the raffle table at Fox Chase fundraisers.
He adds, “Anyone can see that Fox Chase is just plain special.”