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Generous donation helps those impacted by COVID-19

By The Health News Team | August 20, 2020
Senior woman holding groceries

As San Diego continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the generosity of the community has played a huge role in helping out during an unprecedented crisis.

The estate of Dean and Eleanor Payne is among many generous community donors who have stepped up to lend a hand.

Like many San Diegans, the Paynes were long-time patients of Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, and patients of Dr. Richard Bryce, who practiced at Sharp Rees-Stealy for many years. On several occasions, they made gifts to recognize Dr. Bryce as a Guardian Angel.

Before their deaths, the Paynes worked with the Sharp HealthCare Foundation to establish a trust that named Sharp Rees-Stealy as a beneficiary. They had taken an interest in the work of Dr. Bryce and others in the medical group, particularly in the areas of lung cancer screening and treatment, and serving those in need.

Following their passing, and while planning was underway for the best use of the funds, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Working with the trustee for the Payne family as well as the successor trustees from the family, it was determined that Dean and Eleanor’s gifts should go directly to support COVID-19 relief efforts. A total of $420,000 was designated from the Payne Family Trust.

The net result has been phenomenal. The physicians and staff of Sharp Rees-Stealy were able to provide hundreds of health screening kits for patients unable to visit the clinic, and grocery cards for patients isolated at home, lacking transportation and dealing with food insecurity due to COVID-19.

For senior patients, this donation provided at-home colorectal screening kits. Routine clinic visits, in addition to colon cancer screenings, were not able to be done during the early stages of COVID-19, and this program has enabled patient screenings to continue. Some of the money also covered the cost of medication for patients.

Meanwhile, the food program, called the Food Insecurity Project, received a donation of $90,000.

“We are thrilled to have received this tremendous donation,” says Janet Appel, director of Population Health for Sharp Rees-Stealy and administrator for the Food Insecurity Project. “The Payne Family Trust has helped hundreds of our patients and their families suffering from food insecurity during this very challenging time.”

This generosity did not go unnoticed.

“My patient was so relieved! Four kids, three of them under age 5, one of them is 6 months old. She recently took a pay cut and her husband got furloughed with COVID-19,” says a Sharp Rees-Stealy social worker.

“Oh my gosh, God bless you and Sharp Rees-Stealy. Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times. God bless you, this is so helpful!” says a Sharp Rees-Stealy patient.

The Payne family expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to create a new legacy of giving during the COVID-19 pandemic in a note to the Sharp HealthCare Foundation:

“Please let your staff know that those of us who are not on the front lines have nothing but admiration, respect and humility for the selflessness with which those first responders are doing their jobs for the benefit of the rest of us. They do this work at substantial expense and risk to themselves and their own families. Their sacrifice is not unnoticed or unappreciated."

To learn more about estate planning, visit

Janet Appel of Sharp Rees-Stealy

Janet Appel


Janet Appel is the director of Population Health for Sharp Rees-Stealy and administrator for the Food Insecurity Project.

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