The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, November 24, 2021 1:00 am


Cancer crusader

Goldsteins' generosity lets IU work toward cures

There are many ways to express gratitude. When Ruth “Rikki” Kutcher Goldstein wanted to say thank you to Dr. Lawrence H. Einhorn for his care of her son-in-law more than 20 years ago, she did it in a big way.

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced last week the establishment of the Rikki and Leonard Goldstein Chair in Cancer Research at IU's Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.

S. Wyle Weiman would lose his battle with lung cancer, but the Goldsteins were so impressed with Einhorn's expertise that they have contributed annually to his research since 1998, according to the Indiana University Newsroom. The new $2 million gift will fund a chair in lung or pancreatic cancer research.

“All Hoosiers should be grateful for the impact Larry has had on cancer research during his career at IU,” Rikki said. “Our family is thrilled to honor him by ensuring that IU can continue to recruit and retain top-notch researchers like him.”

Over his career, the Newsroom said Einhorn – a member of the IU School of Medicine since 1973 – has mentored and trained more than 100 oncologists and treated numerous patients.

As for the Goldsteins, residents of Fort Wayne know the name even if they never had the opportunity to meet them. Married for 71 years before Len's death in 2018 at the age of 97, the couple defined public service and spent most of their married lives in a home near Foster Park.

They met at Ohio State University, moved to Fort Wayne in 1945, and eventually raised four children here. Rikki volunteered in PTA and other school activities until their youngest was in high school, then she helped found the Women's Bureau where she was director of peer counseling. Twenty years later, at the age of 70, she joined Neighborhood Health Clinics. She also helped found the Fort Wayne Ballet, served on the Metro Human Relations Commission and numerous other volunteer boards.

The Goldsteins shared each other's social and community interests. “Neither of us can blink at social injustice,” Len told The Journal Gazette's Nancy Vendrely for a 1996 story. “Judaism is basically a religion and a culture that almost demands contribution to your fellow human beings.”

As school board president in the mid-'70s, he led the push to desegregate Fort Wayne Community Schools, volunteered with the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne, was involved much of his life with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, and served as board chair of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Arts United.

This is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and a recently released report from the American Lung Association shows Hoosiers rank significantly higher than those in most states in the nation for the rate of new lung cancer cases.

Four decades ago, an IU team led by Dr. Einhorn developed the cure for testis cancer. With their $2 million gift, the Goldstein family is investing in the chance for even more progress to benefit Hoosiers.

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