SBP supporters Dr. Tom and Cindy Goodman host SBP’s postdocs for the holidays

| Written by Helen I. Hwang
Fishman Fund winners at the Goodmans for the Holidays

For the last ten years, Cindy and Dr. Tom Goodman have a tradition of inviting Fishman Fund winners, past and present, for a holiday celebration. “It’s a delight to see everyone in a social setting – listening, learning and sharing.” Conversations range from the latest and greatest on melanoma research to cultural discussions about what Thanksgiving is about.

The Goodmans have been supporters of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and the Fishman Fund for the last decade or so. Every year, they’ve invited the winners of the Fishman Fund to their own home to share a holiday dinner. Cindy Goodman’s family always had a tradition of having students over for big meals when she was growing up in Ohio. She wanted to continue the tradition here with SBP’s community.

The Fishman Fund provides funding for exceptional postdoctoral researchers with a Fishman Fund Fellowship and Fishman Fund Career Development Awards. Founded in 2001, the Fishman Fund was established by SBP supporters Mary Bradley and Reena Horowitz, to honor the Fishmans. In 2010, Jeanne Jones became the co-founder designee. SBP introduced the Fishman Fund Awards in honor of the Institute's founders, Dr. William and Lillian Fishman. So far, the Fishman Fund has funded over 55 postdoctoral researchers.

Recently, the families of four Fishman Fund recipients went to the Goodmans’ home to share Thanksgiving dinner. Fishman Fund awardees Stefan Grotegut, Melanie Hoefer, Petrus de Jong, Bernhard Lechtenberg and Jia (Zack) Shen all enjoyed a holiday celebration with the Goodmans. Former Fishman Fund winner Karthik Bodhinathan also called from the Boston area, where he now works for a pharmaceutical company, after spending six holidays with the Goodmans.  In fact, they’ve grown so close that they met Bodhinathan’s sister on a trip to Singapore.

The appreciation we feel “magnifies in unexpected ways,” says Cindy. This year, there were 16 people in their home, including children, ranging from age 1 to 8 years old. The Goodmans made turkey, potatoes and cranberry sauce for some guests who’ve never enjoyed such a feast before.

For Shen and his family, it was their first American Thanksgiving and he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “We really enjoyed the fantastic Thanksgiving dinner at Cindy and Tom's home. The house was so cozy. Cindy and Tom just treated us like family members. During the dinner, we talked about life in San Diego, my plans for the near future and the funny things about my baby Olivia. Also, we had nice conversations with the other winners' families. And all of us gave our thanks to Goodman family. It was a wonderful evening!”

“I would be delighted if others opened their houses and hearts to one student or family,” says Cindy Goodman. Their experiences have been so delightful that she hopes someone else will also gain from the gift of sharing as the Goodmans have benefitted for the last decade.

For more information about the Fishman Fund, click here.

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