Knowing that your gift can make a difference is a small thing when facing the loss of a loved one, but Paul Muenzner, MD, of Fayetteville says that remembering his wife Annie through two endowment funds at UNC Lineberger is something that he is proud of. Annie, a nurse, lost her battle with leukemia in 2011. The couple had been married almost 48 years.
Dr. Muenzner notes that one of the endowment funds is meaningful for several reasons. The Paul S. & Annie G. Muenzner Oncology Nursing Endowment Fund will support educational and professional development opportunities for outpatient and inpatient oncology nurses. “It honors Annie’s career as a nurse and it reflects the outstanding care that she received at UNC. The nurses often don’t get thanked and they are the ones who do a lot of the hard work,” he says.
“Annie and I discussed our financial situation when her leukemia came back after remission, and I proposed that we give away some of what we had saved for retirement. She said, ‘I like the idea. You’re doing that for me’,” he says.
In addition to honoring Annie’s career, Dr. Muenzner says that The Annie G. Muenzner Endowment Fund for New Ideas in Cancer Research reflects the couple’s knowledge, as members of the health care community, “that seed money is really important because early research doesn’t get funded.”
Dr. Muenzner, an orthopedic surgeon, says that the couple’s experience during Annie’s illness was exceptional, “I have been in medicine for 40 years and never known a hospital so patientoriented. I know that as a doctor and a nurse, we Dr. Paul Muenzner are often the people who can be meddlesome in our own care. People at UNC who knew that were exceptionally nice to us but it was really everyone, from the people who cleaned the floors and changed the beds, up to the nursing staff and doctors.”
When he gets to Chapel Hill, Dr. Muenzner goes to see the people who took care of Annie, who “will be remembered in perpetuity because the oncology nurses endowment will always be available. I will continue to donate and encourage others to do so.”
“Annie’s care is the reason I gave and I would encourage anyone who has any expectations of being charitable toward people with cancer, donate as much as they can to UNC Lineberger,” he says. “Decide what you want to support and establish your own endowment.”