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Gary and Wendy Bice - A Legacy of Giving Back

Gary Bice’s personal commitment to fighting cancer began when he was in his late 20s, just starting out in his professional career of investment advising. He lost his mother, Jeanne Bice, to breast cancer in 1986. Losing his mother at such a young age inspired Gary to do something in tribute to her courage and determination.

Gary and a small group of friends came together to help raise cancer awareness and the need for research funding, and to develop a long-term commitment with other young professionals through fun social events. He was an original member of the newly established Partners group, hosting a variety of parties and special events to support the research and patient care programs at Karmanos, known then as the Michigan Cancer Foundation. Now in its 20th year, the Partners group continues with an annual golf outing and night event and has raised $13 million for research at Karmanos.

Gary’s wife, Wendy, also has a deep connection to Karmanos. Shortly after they were married, Wendy became one of the founding members of the Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, sponsored by Karmanos. For 13 years, Wendy served on the Komen Detroit Planning Committee, contributing her time and talent as event director of media and public relations. In 2001, she was honored with a Karmanos Cancer Institute Heroes of Breast Cancer Award. Today, Wendy’s words still come to define how people think and talk about the biggest breast cancer event in Michigan and she continues to consult with race staff on media and communications issues.

A few years ago, Gary and Wendy included the Karmanos Cancer Institute in their own estate plan in remembrance of his mother, Jeanne. One of the ways they chose to give back was to name the Karmanos Cancer Institute as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, an easy way to establish an estate gift.

“It was important to Wendy and me that our support of Karmanos’ excellent patient care continues, even after we are gone,” Gary said. “Setting that up through a life insurance policy was a great option for us.”

Gary currently serves as an active member of the Karmanos Planned Giving Advisory Committee, a position he has held since 1990, helping build community awareness about charitable estate planning. He shares his knowledge about the personal benefit and sense of fulfillment one feels when supporting an institution like Karmanos through an estate gift.

“Legacy planning is always a part of the conversations I have with my clients,” Gary said. “I encourage all my clients who are open to giving back to the community to consider a bequest of support.”

Nick Karmanos, senior vice president of Institutional Relations at Karmanos, said the Bices have done so much to promote the Institute’s mission.

“We are honored to have Gary and Wendy, who, through their time, efforts and generosity, have planted the seeds for two tremendously successful Karmanos events that continue today,” Nick said. “Their future legacy commitment is the ultimate gift to our mission and to those fighting cancer and we are truly grateful for their longstanding support.”"
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