Harold Davis makes special Helix gift to honor his late wife, Ruth

“The Helix is a very nice way to recognize a gift. And most of us, we know who we love and who we miss—and who we want to honor.”

When long-time donor Harold Davis reflects on his decision to give to the Brigham, his late wife and best friend, Ruth, is at the forefront of his mind. “The main drive I have in this whole idea of giving is because of Ruth,” he says. “Ruth was someone special.”

Harold’s Brigham experience began when Ruth underwent open heart surgery at the hospital performed by the late Lawrence Cohn, MD. Both were amazed by the dedicated staff, and deeply appreciative of the years they felt this care gave back to Ruth. Harold recalls being particularly impressed with the world-renowned cardiac surgeon.

“He did a spectacular job,” Harold says. “It was our first introduction to medicine with a personality. Ruth lived for many years after Larry’s work.”

Sadly, Ruth passed away in 2003 from cancer. “My wife had many serious medical issues…but you’d never know anything was bothering her,” Harold remembers. “Her cardiologist said Ruth’s healthy looks and attitudes belie her many medical issues.”

After Ruth’s passing, Harold continued to get his care from the Brigham, and still does to this day. Grateful for his experience with urologic surgeon Michael O’Leary, MD, MPH, Harold was inspired to give back. Over the years, he’s supported O’Leary’s work, as well as the hospital more broadly through the Brigham Fund, which provides Brigham President Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, with flexible funding for all areas of the hospital’s mission. Most recently, Harold established a charitable gift annuity to support the Division of Urology—and in discussing this gift, he learned of the Brigham’s Helix display.

The Helix is a DNA-shaped installation located in the heart of our main campus. Donors can inscribe messages on the mirrors that make up this special installation—providing a highly visible way to honor their loved ones or Brigham caregivers.

For Harold, deciding whom to inscribe his messages to was easy. A message to Ruth encapsulates Harold’s gratitude for the love of his life. A second mirror is dedicated to his parents.

Harold was deeply touched and impressed by how the Helix enables donors to support the hospital and its mission while also providing a meaningful way to honor loved ones.

“The Helix is a very nice way to recognize a gift,” Harold says. “For most of us, we know who we love and who we miss—and who we want to honor.”