Mary Jo and Francis “Chub” Chionchio met on the golf course while waiting out a thunderstorm. Over their 35 years together, a marriage Mrs. Chionchio calls “the best time of my life,” she witnessed six of her husband’s 13 holes in one. “He was the real deal,” she says.
The two were healthy, active golfers when Mr. Chionchio was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2009. He died two years later at 77.
During Mr. Chionchio’s treatment, the couple developed a deep connection with R. Douglas Trochelman, MD, the Vincent and Nancy DiGirolamo Endowed Chair in Oncology, and medical director, Summa Health Cancer Institute, and his team. “They became family,” Mrs. Chionchio said. “Their attention to Chub’s needs and his spirits was so impressive. They treated a person, not a disease.”
Moved by the genuinely compassionate care her husband had received at Summa Health, the retired science teacher made a generous gift to Summa Health to establish The Chub and Mary Jo Chionchio Endowed Fund for Clinical Trials Research.
“Cancer is relentless,” says Mrs. Chionchio. “We need the solutions that only serious research can bring.” Mrs. Chionchio speaks from experience having established a research partnership between her students and the University of Akron as a science teacher at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
“We are at the heart of a research community,” she says. “With progress in clinical trials and advanced treatment, Summa Health is a resource that will continue to highlight Akron as a place where good things happen.”