Gordon’s wife, Kaye, was a compassionate and caring woman who spent countless hours volunteering for many community organizations. She was especially devoted to the YMCA and was instrumental in bringing YMCA programming, particularly for young mothers, to Syracuse’s northern suburbs. In addition to being a member of the North Area Family YMCA building committee and its board of directors, she also served as a program coordinator and chair of its women’s committee. Being very hands-on, she was willing to take on whatever task was needed to ensure day-to-day operations at the branch ran smoothly. Gordon knows that Kaye’s passion and commitment played a vital role in making the North Area Family YMCA what it is today.
While Kaye was bravely fighting breast cancer, the couple frequently heard stories of other women facing similar battles. Oftentimes, these women were also single mothers or facing the challenge without a caregiver. Many struggled to care for their children while also trying to get to healthcare appointments, sustain a steady income and maintain a home. Kaye and Gordon both decided that they wanted to help these women access quality healthcare so that they can continue to be there for their families into the future.
Sadly, Kaye lost her cancer battle in 2009. In her memory, their family established the Kathleen Sill Hoffman Hershberger Memorial Fund with us. It directs funding to the North Area YMCA to assist young mothers diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition to subsidizing family memberships at the North branch, the fund helps women suffering from breast cancer with child care during doctor visits, counseling and psychological help, travel expenses for undergoing treatment in other cities, wigs, compression sleeves and more.
Kaye’s fund has made a positive and profound difference in the lives of many women. Many have graciously shared their stories of how the fund has provided assistance with transportation to treatment, expenses to visit out-of-town specialists, bathing suits that can accommodate prosthetics for water exercise and healthy meals for their caregiving families, to name a few. They are all grateful that this fund is available to help them through such a difficult time.
Through grants from the fund, the North Area YMCA benefits from periodic designated contributions without undertaking administrative costs. Gordon explained that he has full confidence that our staff and board of directors will steward Kaye’s fund into a local resource that goes far beyond their initial dreams, into perpetuity. Gordon sees no limit to the number of women and families that will benefit from this endowment.
Support for Kaye’s fund has come from friends and from strangers alike. To Gordon, all are angels who are helping individuals faced with the life threatening needs and devastating impact of cancer. With the support of its donors and our stewardship, the fund will continue to grow and directly help the women that need it for many years to come.
Kaye was passionate about helping other people. In her legacy, women going through a cancer diagnosis can reclaim their lives, get back into society and grow stronger while connecting with others also facing this disease. Gordon feels that she would be so pleased that this fund carries out her desire to make a difference in the lives of others.