Giving Through Research, Education, Fellowship and Patient Care: The Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation

"I learned that through suffering, great things can come. And if you put others ahead of yourself, that will motivate you. And love motivates you more than anything." - Caroline Monti Saladino

Caroline Monti Saladino, associate trustee of North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) and president of the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation since 2006, keeps giving more to the $43 million her foundation has raised since its inception. The Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation’s latest gift to North Shore-LIJ is endowing the 2015 Don Monti Cancer Survivors Day at the Monter Cancer Center in Lake Success.

Ms. Monti Saladino’s parents, Tita and Joseph Monti, established the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation in 1972 following the death of their 16-year-old son, Don, from acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). The foundation’s mission of support includes patient care at North Shore University Hospital, home of the Don Monti Division of Oncology/ Hematology and the Don Monti Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, plus Don Monti Cancer Centers in Huntington, Glen Cove and Plainview hospitals; research on AML and other cancers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; and education at Long Island University/CW Post for a ground-breaking masters program in genetic counseling for adults.

Ms. Monti Saladino, her brother and fellow trustee, Richard Monti, and her husband, Arthur Saladino, co-manage the family foundation pro bono. “My mother said, ‘Just do what’s right for the patients.’ So as part of our patient care mission, we fill in areas that the health system isn’t able to do,” she said. This includes funding for a hepatology patient navigator and creating and managing a Complementary Alternative Therapies Program. The latter initiative helps patients via guided imagery, aromatherapy and other modalities. Its music therapy component helped 575 patients last year alone.

The foundation also offers morale-boosting events on 7 Monti and 8 Monti, NSUH’s hematologic malignancy and bone marrow transplant floors. Some 80 to 90 transplant patients are on the unit for three months at a time, so the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation hosts eight holiday parties a year for patients and the staff members who care for them. “To work in the oncology field is joyful at times, but at times it can be very sad,” Ms. Monti Saladino said. “These women and men have dedicated their lives to this; the staff members are so critical to what is going on with each patient’s journey.”

The Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation raises more than $1 million annually through an abundance of fundraisers, large and small. Major fundraisers include this spring’s 3rd Annual PinkTie.org Networking Event and the 2015 Inaugural Golf Event (chaired by Howard Maier and David Rosen), plus the 44th Anniversary Ball of the Year to be held November 14 at the Crest Hollow Country Club.

“We also get a lot of support from people who organize walks or softball games or bar crawl fundraisers,” said Ms. Monti Saladino. “People whose loved ones we have helped – some have survived, some have not – who want to give back.”

The family’s commitment to the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation – and to the North Shore-LIJ Health System – continues as the second, third and fourth generations of Montis and Saladinos continue to support research, education, patient care and fellowship. Find out more at DonMontiFoundation.org.

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