The Power of Bequests

The Douglas & Laura Wolford Nine Long Lives Fund

 

“Every day we had with our little girls was a priceless gift,” say Laura and Doug Wolford of Athena and SallyCat, who passed away recently at 18 and 21 ½ years of age, respectively. “No matter what struggles they faced as they grew older, each and every day they gave us more love, more joy, and more sweetness. They were quite creative in finding new ways to accommodate the changes brought about by aging, and so open to living and loving in the most remarkable ways. So we felt that giving to help older cats and the people who love them enjoy the longest possible time together seemed like a natural thing to do.”

Inspired by Sally and Athena, the Wolfords decided to include Cornell in their estate plan with a significant bequest to establish The Douglas & Laura Wolford Nine Long Lives Fund. The focus of the fund will be researching and disseminating information on genetic markers and other characteristics of older healthy cats to determine how these cats achieved long and healthy lives, feline pain recognition and management, emerging therapies and mobility enhancement, and the identification, presentation, and treatment of the most common causes of disease in older cats.  These focus areas all aim to extend cats’ lives in the most healthy, positive, and happy ways possible.

“Cornell is doing pioneering work in feline geriatrics – combining science and sensitivity,” the Wolfords add. “It’s a real joy to know that our gift will be used wisely and well.”

Laura and Doug were first introduced to the Center almost ten years ago when Dr. Marcus Brown of the Nova Cat Clinic in Arlington, Virginia, made a charitable gift in memory of their much-beloved cat, Toby, as part of the Cornell Feline Health Center’s Clinic Memorial Giving Program. Intrigued by the notion of helping cats and kittens, and eager to better understand their care and development, they researched the Center and began making regular annual gifts, now augmented by their bequest.

And the Wolfords are taking another step – they are exploring the creation of a matching gift program to encourage others to join them in supporting the Cornell Feline Health Center.


  • Sally at her 21st birthday party, celebrating with her gifts, cards, pinwheels, and dinner.
  • Athena, celebrating her 18th birthday in one of her favorite party dresses, a Hello Kitty moto-inspired frock.