Jim Goodwin remembers the day he learned that his wife had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. "Cancer is the ultimate threat to one's family..." he reflects, "it's a life of fear! If I can play a role in sparing another family that fear, then I will have been involved in something important." His $1 million gift to the Swanson Biotechnology Center, naming the histology facility in memory of his wife, Dr. Hope Babette Tang, represents a means to achieve this goal. Dr. Tang, a 1983 graduate of MIT, was a pediatrician who lost her battle with cancer at age 36 in 1998. Babette was the Pediatric Medical Director of an HIV clinic at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
Goodwin has been involved with the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, home to the SBC, since 2008. His interest was initially piqued by the fact that the KI conducts basic research to help create new treatments for the disease. "Patients go to a hospital expecting to be treated with modern, effective drugs, but where do they come from?" Goodwin recalls asking himself. Cancer treatment challenges like drug resistance and side effects are widely known, but personal experience made the need for novel therapies clear to him. "Patients and their families want new treatments; and obviously we need new treatments. All of my wife's failed. We need talented scientists who are studying cancer at the cellular level. That is why the KI caught my attention and received my support."
Within the Koch Institute, Goodwin became interested in the Swanson Biotechnology Center (SBC) after meeting Judy Swanson while serving on the KI’s Leadership Council, of which he now serves as Chairman. “Judy lost her husband to cancer, as I lost my wife. This was a circumstance I understood and it led me to decide to support the SBC with my gift.”