The widow of the late Buffalo Bills founder Ralph Wilson was at Roswell Park Cancer Institute Thursday morning, presenting a gift of $4.2 million to support the center's quality-of-life services.
Those services include financial assistance with transportation and lodging for families of patients, devices that patients may need, wigs and hats for chemotherapy patients, pet therapy and pastoral services.
Mary Wilson says her husband cared a great deal about Roswell Park.
"This gift fits Ralph's passion, which was improving quality of life for people. Ralph loved the people of Buffalo and Western New York," Wilson said.
During a ceremony, a plaque was unveiled that includes an image of Ralph Wilson spending time with a 5-year-old patient, Nicholas Puleri. Puleri, who attended at the news conference, is now 30 years old and cancer-free.
Dr. Candace Johnson, president and CEO of Roswell Park, saluted Ralph Wilson’s long history of supporting the center.
"He was a major supporter of Roswell Park. He contributed over $2 million in seed monies to research here. He had a medical foundation that I had the pleasure of chairing," Johnson said.
The gift represents the first issued by the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. Over the next 20 years, the foundation plans to donate $1.2 billion to various causes.