Why I Give: Jeff Binder

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Jeff Binder with his mother, Myrna Binder.

When he was just 12 years old, Jeff Binder received life-changing news: He had non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As the New Jersey native was going through treatment, some of his chemotherapy appointments were scheduled at a public clinic in a low-income New York neighborhood.

“You could see a lot of those families were not well off and were going through the same thing I was going through, but with the added issues of facing poverty, substandard housing, poor nutrition—all the issues that would make it that much harder,” recalls Binder. His mother, Myrna “Moppie” Binder volunteered in the clinic and got to know some of those families well. Although he was still a child, Binder made a decision about his cancer and his future: “I decided if I survived it, I would want to do something for those families.”

Binder beat cancer, launched a successful business career and made good on his promise. In 2007, soon after selling a business and joining Warsaw-based Biomet he connected with Riley Pediatric Orthopedic Oncology surgeon Dr. Daniel Wurtz. Binder then worked with Riley Children’s Foundation to establish Moppie’s Love, named in honor of his mother. The fund allows Riley’s Social Work team to speed help to Riley families when they are faced with urgent needs such as rent, transportation or meal assistance. “These diagnoses can take families who are on the edge, and put them over the edge,” explains Binder. “Moppie’s Love has been successful and that’s because of the great stewardship of the Riley staff. It gives the social work staff so much flexibility to intervene on the spot. They see a problem, they write a check.”

Recently, after selling Biomet, Binder made a transformational financial commitment to Riley through Moppie’s Love, ensuring that Riley families’ emergency needs can be taken care of well into the future. Binder says it’s part of his “pay it forward” philosophy, which he shared with kids at the Riley Cancer Center graduation. “My message to them was to accept that having gone through cancer will be part of them,” Binder says. “They’ve been through something difficult and come out the other side, and you can use that in your life.”        

Binder says his decision to support Riley has brought heartwarming rewards. “It’s just incredibly gratifying,” he explains. “The more you can do, the more gratifying it is. It’s linear. The more I give, the more families we help.”

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