Hoag Family Cancer Institute
Our Stories


Felix and Flory Van Beek

Challenged but Undefeated

Felix and Flory Van Beek are more familiar than most with pain, suffering, perseverance and survival. Through it all, the couple has remained strong, never letting life defeat them and never losing their compassion and generosity toward others.

Flory has chronicled their lives in her memoir titled Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death. It tells her personal story – a young Jewish woman hiding in Holland during World War II. In the war's early years, she and Felix were nearly killed trying to leave Europe when the ship they were aboard was sunk. Nazis under Hitler killed her mother and destroyed her family.

The screen rights to Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death have been purchased by a production company and the book may be made into a miniseries for television.

Not distracted by all the recent attention, Flory, who still speaks with a Dutch accent, says, "I stand with two feet on the ground. I'm not a sensational person – Felix and I just like to help others."

Hoag Hospital is one of the beneficiaries of that generosity.

Felix and Flory are both grateful for treatment they have received at Hoag over the years. But their appreciation of Hoag becomes most passionate when they speak of their son, Ralph, who fought brain cancer for two years before passing away at Hoag in 1971. He was just 16 years old.

"Hoag treated our son very well," Flory says. "Unfortunately, they didn't have the science they have now. But Ralph was treated so well…we wanted to establish this memorial."

To honor Ralph's memory and to help with the fight against the cancer that killed him, Felix and Flory have established a charitable gift annuity benefiting Hoag Hospital. Then they established another, and another. Today they have created a total of six charitable gift annuities benefiting Hoag Hospital.

Flory says she would encourage everyone to support Hoag Hospital. "It is an excellent hospital, one of the very best."

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