Why I Give: Jean Anderson

Why I Give: Jean Anderson

Giving to Scripps comes easily to Jean Anderson. A volunteer and donor for decades, her relationship with Scripps started like so many others do: as a patient. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, she underwent treatment at Scripps and credits that experience with inspiring her to give back to the organization that saved her life.

Anderson has spread her generosity wherever it is needed, from donating to Scripps Clinic, Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Cancer Center to serving on various advisory boards and councils. She supports annual giving as a member of Scripps President’s Council as well as making an estate gift to become a member of Scripps Heritage Circle.

Jean Anderson spends her time at dozens of events each year, helping out wherever she’s needed, and has no plans to quit anytime soon.

“As long as I have the energy and strength, I’ll do whatever Scripps asks me to do for as long as I possibly can,” she says. “It’s a great cause and it’s been a part of me for so long. I can’t imagine not doing something.“

Why did you start giving?

“When I was going through treatment for cancer, I was treated by wonderful doctors, nurses and radiologists. At the time, the radiation oncology department did not have a large, comfortable space for patients. There was a small changing room and a cramped waiting area. There were lots of people there with tears in their eyes—and I thought to myself, If we have to be here every day, I’m going to try to make people smile. I had 39 treatments and at each one, I took it upon myself to tell jokes or riddles to try to help people.

Later, when Scripps was raising money for a new radiation accelerator, they asked my husband and me to tour their new cancer department. We were very impressed with what they were striving for, but I also shared with them my concerns about the environment. That’s when they invited me to be part of the Scripps Green Cancer Center Advisory Board.”

What inspires you to continue?

“My time with the advisory board was a long adventure, and I loved every minute of it. My husband at the time told me I should be paid for all I did, and I said, ‘No, I’m paying back! I’m alive and they saved my life.’”

“My husband passed away from cancer and complications from Alzheimer’s in 2010. Two years later, I had the opportunity to make a dedication in his memory at Scripps Cancer Center, John J. Hopkins location. I dedicated the changing rooms, the locker rooms and the waiting room with comfortable seating—because that was my big thing from the get-go. I’ve continued to be involved with the opening of new buildings ever since.”

“I am so proud of all the remarkable things Scripps has accomplished over the years and so pleased to be even a small part of it.”

What would you tell others who want to start giving back?

All you have to do is ask your doctor, “How can I get involved? What can I do to help?” Remember, every penny helps and every dollar counts — whether you can afford $25, $25,000 or $2 million, know that whatever you can do to further the care and goodness that comes out of Scripps is what’s most important.