Ben and Carmela Du Establish a New Endowed Chair to Support Men's Health.
Adventurous spirits, Ben and Carmela Du have a long history of moving boldly and joyfully through life. As newlyweds who had just finished university, they packed up everything and moved to the United States from their native Philippines.
“It was an adventure,” Carmela remembers. “We were so young, and we didn’t think of the consequences. We just did it.”
Shortly upon arriving in Orange County, where Ben attended California State University at Fullerton for his M.B.A., their daughter, Lizette was born. With their can-do spirit intact, they embraced all of the joys and challenges of adapting to life in the U.S.
Creating his own opportunity, Ben founded Flojet Corporation, a leading manufacturer of positive displacement pumps and other electro-mechanical components with facilities in Irvine, England and China. “We built it from scratch,” Ben says. “Carmela was the chief financial officer, and together we grew it from a small start-up to a very profitable company.”
Through it all, they remained a close-knit family which has expanded to include granddaughters, Christiana and Jessica. Ben and Carmela recently took the entire family, and a few close friends, on a yacht cruise to the Mediterranean to celebrate fifty years of marriage.
When it came time to slow down and enjoy all they had built together, Ben and Carmela made the decision together to sell FloJet. “We were ready for a change,” he says. “We want to keep traveling until we have to slow down.”
Giving Back with Gratitude
Although they have traveled the world, stamping their passports all across Europe, Asia and even the Himalayas, Newport Beach is home. Blessed by the success of their company, they wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to them.
Aware of the importance of having access to world-class care, Hoag was a natural choice for the couple. Ben joined the Hoag Hospital Foundation Board and currently serves on the Investment Committee. When they met Jeffrey Yoshida, M.D., program director of urologic oncology at Hoag Family Cancer Institute, Ben and Carmela knew he was someone with big ideas. And they wanted to help him make them a reality for men all over Orange County.
The Dus decided to make a $2.25 million gift and establish the Benjamin & Carmela Du Endowed Chair in Urologic Oncology. “We liked the fact that Dr. Yoshida is forward thinking in that he wants to do more than simply treat patients, he wants to go beyond that with prevention, early detection and research,” stresses Carmela
An Innovative Healer
One of Hoag’s 11 endowed chair holders, Dr. Yoshida is honored to be the first Benjamin & Carmela Du Endowed Chair in Urologic Oncology. “Being appointed as an endowed chair is one of the highest distinctions a physician can receive, and I was shocked—and thrilled —when I learned about the Dus’ remarkable gift,” Dr. Yoshida says.
Dr. Yoshida added that the gift will allow him and his team to do the kind of comprehensive prostate cancer research and clinical trials typically conducted in academic research settings, and not community-based hospitals. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men. Even so, Dr. Yoshida explained, there is a wide spectrum of prostate cancers, ranging from indolent (non-progressive) to highly lethal forms.
“This gift will allow us to conduct comprehensive urologic cancer research including clinical trials, with the initial research focusing on ‘active surveillance’ of prostate cancer,” Dr. Yoshida continued. “We will be able to offer state-of-the-art imaging, biomarker testing and a clinical research platform to optimize this approach to prostate cancer management. This will not only improve our ability to monitor cancers, but it may also alleviate anxiety that men experience when on active surveillance. The Dus generous gift will take our vision and make it a reality.”
Ben and Carmela are very proud to serve Hoag and hope their gift will inspire others throughout Orange County to support our exceptional health care asset.
“Dr. Yoshida’s groundbreaking research on preventive medicine and care gives hope and healing to thousands of people with cancer,” shares Ben. “Carmela and I are honored that our gift will help him and Hoag expand his important work.”