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Linda and Don Strough: Helping Patients Breathe Easier

Photo of Linda and Don Strough.Linda and Don Strough had numerous ties to the University of California. They first met as undergraduates at UC Berkeley. Their daughter Alix received her bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from UCLA and graduated from the UCSF Masters Entry Program in Nursing in 2003.

For many years Don suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). He was treated at UCSF by pulmonologists Michael Stulbarg, MD, and Leland G. Dobbs, MD. The Stroughs were pleased with the excellent treatment Don received, although it did not save his life. He passed away in 2007.

After losing her husband of 40 years to lung disease, Linda was determined to do what she could to help advance COPD research. She included a generous bequest in her estate in memory of her husband to benefit the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI). The CVRI pursues groundbreaking research to advance the understanding of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and develop and test new treatments.

“My mother wanted to do something in my dad’s honor,” Alix says. “If my dad had qualified for new treatments or a clinical trial, we would have encouraged him to do that. Instead, we had to hope that future treatments could be developed through new research.” Linda passed away in 2014 after her own battle with COPD.

“CVRI is dedicated to making new contributions to basic knowledge and clinical management of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases,” says Shaun Coughlin, MD, PhD, director of the CVRI and Distinguished Professor in Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine. “We are immensely thankful that Linda Strough set up this bequest to assist us in carrying out our mission.”

The family’s lawyer and longtime friend, Bruce Bercovich, says Don and Linda made a number of philanthropic contributions to benefit medicine over the years. Sometimes the gifts were cars donated for fundraising raffles: Don owned a number of car dealerships, a family business launched in the 1930s when his father opened Val Strough Chevrolet in Oakland.

“Don and Linda were loyal people who felt very connected to Cal and UCSF. But mostly, Linda said she wanted to give to UCSF because they were so good to Don when he was ill,” Bruce says. “I am so pleased to see Don honored by this gift. He was a terrific guy.”


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