Sacramento resident Judy Kwan said she and her husband Raymond often donated to cancer causes, particularly research. But Judy says conversations with Ray’s oncologist and their younger daughter Kristi, a medical resident in Northern California, prompted them to consider helping patients in need.

Judy Kwan said the two doctors told them of patients struggling with ordinary living expenses, some even stopping treatment due to finances. “We were saddened to hear that there are patients who have financial difficulties,” Judy said. It was a recurring conversation topic for the couple during his therapy for advanced colon cancer at UC Davis Health Comprehensive Cancer Center.

After Raymond died in March 2020, Judy looked for something to ease her family’s pain. Those conversations with her husband came to mind. “That inspired me,” Judy said. “I thought, why don’t we do it now?”

Judy and her daughters, Kristi and Tiffany, created The Raymond Kwan Memorial Patient Assistance Fund at UC Davis Health to help pay the ordinary living expenses of patients during treatment. Social workers at the cancer center can offer gas cards, Uber gift cards, grocery store gift cards and housing assistance to qualifying patients.

Judy said the fund honors Raymond’s belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed. Raymond left China as a teenager in the aftermath of the Communist revolution of the late 1940s. He studied English in Hong Kong, then moved to the United States to pursue his dream of an advanced education. He worked his way through college while earning a degree in engineering at UC Berkeley and then met Judy at San Jose State, where she studied computer science and he pursued a master’s degree. The couple moved to Sacramento in 1987, where they worked for the state and raised Kristi and Tiffany, who each have medical careers. Kristi practices medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. Tiffany is a dentist in the Natomas area of Sacramento.

Judy said that Raymond made a habit of donating money to worthy causes throughout his life. “Ray has been a very generous person,” Judy said. “I am sure that this is what he would want.”

The Kwan family has established the Raymond Kwan Memorial Patient Assistance Fund and Judy said she is looking forward to hearing about how the fund helps others. But right now, creating the fund is helping her. “I miss him so much,” she said. “This is making me peaceful.”