Anyone can make a difference

Matt Prisby outside with his dog
Matt Prisby relaxes in Hollings’ serenity garden with his dog.

As a child, Matt Prisby watched his father support local vendors selling apples and pencils on the sidewalk, despite his family’s own modest financial circumstances. As he grew older, he began to think about his father’s example and how he could give back and make a difference in his community.

His wife, Sheryl, a dental graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina, shared his passion for giving back. The couple also shared a love of golden retrievers. They rescued several and directed all of their philanthropic giving toward animals for many years. But when Sheryl died of cervical cancer in 2014, Matt knew he needed to honor his wife of 26 years in an impactful way.

Matt established the Sheryl Sirisky Prisby Scholarship in Gynecological Oncology, which is the first scholarship dedicated exclusively to the research of women’s cancers at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. This scholarship was made possible by Matt, who not only gives annually, but who also has made a planned gift through his will to create a legacy for Sheryl. The latest recipient of Sheryl’s Scholarship is Hollings Cancer Center researcher Joseph Delaney, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Delaney’s research, which targets ovarian cancer, uses a five-drug mixture called Combination of Autophagy Selective Therapeutics or COAST. His study will use mouse models to evaluate if his newly developed drug treatments can achieve complete remission in the mice without harming essential organs.

With these data, Dr. Delaney will be able to move to the next step to see if such a treatment can prove effective and safe in treating ovarian cancer in humans.

With a combination of annual and planned giving, Matt is making a difference in the fight against cancer now, and providing hope for the future. “One hundred years from now, I hope I’m able to show people that anybody can make a difference,” Matt says.

He wants to encourage more people to give, no matter the amount, and to share their stories about what or who inspired them. “You really never know what’s going to resonate with people, and I think there needs to be more stories out there.”

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Matt is a great example of how you can implement “blended giving” to make an impact greater than you ever thought possible. He currently gives to Hollings Cancer Center annually, and he has set aside a gift in his will to further our mission in gynecological oncology at a greater level than is possible during his lifetime. To learn more about how you can change what’s possible at Hollings Cancer Center through a planned gift and annual giving, contact Debbie Bordeau at 843-792-7694.