Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer - An Inspiring Philanthropist

The Centre Region lost a impactful philanthropist in January 2019 who was a generous supporter of many organizations--including Mount Nittany Health.

Barbara Palmer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, and it was a complete shock to her family. Thankfully, she was diagnosed at a time when mammography was routinely available, and a lumpectomy was the new standard of care. After her surgery and six weeks of radiation therapy, Barbara received another jolt—uterine cancer. A spontaneous remission occurred, however, and further treatment wasn’t necessary.

Then Jim, husband to Barbara for 53 years, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2000. Even more devastating, the prognosis was poor—the cancer was late stage. Kidney surgery was followed by enrollment in a sophisticated clinical trial at the Cleveland Clinic (these same clinical trials are available right here in State College through Cancer Care Partnership). Despite Jim’s poor prognosis, he outlived everyone’s expectations and survived his cancer for 18 months.

As Barbara was still adjusting to life without Jim, Barry Stein, DMD, expressed concern about a lesion on her gum. Although Barbara had been through biopsies of lesions in her mouth before, this time the results indicated squamous cell carcinoma of the gums—cancer again. Excision of the tumor was recommended, quickly followed by extensive reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, State College-based physician, Stephen Engroff, MD, DMD, was one of the few surgeons in the country who could perform both excision and reconstructive surgery. A six and one-half hour surgery allowed a nearly perfect cosmetic outcome, and complete removal of the cancer.

Barbara knew the value of her generous donations: to sustain Mount Nittany Health’s important programs and services, to encourage technological advances, to construct or equip facilities, or to aid in the recruitment of top-notch professionals. After all, improved healthcare may help someone she cared about.

Her long-time friend, Mimi Barash Coppersmith sums Barbara up best: You can look behind almost any outstanding service or philanthropic effort in this community and see in some way the hand and love of Barbara Palmer.

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