- On December 30, 2016
Dr. Brian Changlai, his wife Dr. Mary Daye, and their son Dr. Brian Changlai, Jr., have dedicated their careers to improving their patients’ longevity and quality of life. Now the family has designated a gift to support the longevity of the Rescue Mission. The $100,000 pledge is the largest contribution to the nonprofit organization’s endowment by a living donor.
The Rescue Mission, founded in Syracuse in 1887, provides a range of programs to address hunger and homelessness in Central New York. This includes an emergency shelter for men and women, a Food Service Center for individuals and families at risk of hunger, affordable housing, and case management and support.
Dr. Brian Changlai, Sr., is a geriatric cardiologist and member of the Onondaga County Medical Society. Although he’s retired from private practice, he continues to care for patients at Loretto, James Square Health and Rehabilitation Centre, Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, and Upstate Medical University Hospital at Community Campus. Dr. Changlai and his family have been helping to end hunger for years by contributing toward meals for those who are hungry— especially during the holidays.
“That people who have nowhere to go have a place to eat and sleep – that just warms my heart,” he says of the Rescue Mission.
Dr. Daye has been in private practice in internal medicine for 35 years. Both her husband and son remark on her work ethic, explaining that it’s not uncommon for her to make house calls to elderly patients on her own time or to work late into the night.
Leading by Example
Their son, Brian Changlai, Jr., has followed his parents’ career path as an M.D. and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at SUNY Upstate University Hospital.
“They’re good examples for me, in how they live their lives,” he says of his parents.
He continued telling stories of his father involving him in funding Thanksgiving meals for those in need at the Rescue Mission, and how, while he was completing his residency at SUNY Upstate, his mother would cook a huge Thanksgiving meal for other residents who were far from home. For those who were working the holiday, she delivered turkey sandwiches.
Drs. Daye and Changlai met at Clarkson University. She was one of only nine women in her graduating class, since the university had recently changed from all-men to coed. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering; he earned a PhD in chemical engineering while delivering daily newspapers in the wee hours of the morning. Dr. Changlai worked as an engineer while Daye completed medical school at SUNY Upstate University Hospital; then he entered medical school, graduating from Weill Cornell Medicine.
On a recent visit to the Changlai-Daye home, a toy poodle peers out contentedly from Dr. Changlai’s arms.
“He’s 17 years old; he’s in overtime,” he says lovingly of the dog, Napoleon. Then he stops to point out a towering 37-year-old indoor ficus tree from the couple’s early years of marriage. “I’m good at keeping things alive,” he says, with a smile.
Endowment Will Provide Services for Years to Come
Dr. Changlai’s endowment gift shows he cares about ensuring that there will always be an open door for men, women and families who are struggling in Central New York, says Carolyn Hendrickson, Chief Development Officer for the Rescue Mission.
“Dr. Changlai and his family’s choice to give to the Rescue Mission’s endowment truly helps ensure our organization’s longevity, and that we will be here in the years to come for our community’s most vulnerable men, women and children,” she says.
Dr. Changlai says he knows sometimes all someone needs is a hand up. Originally from Taiwan, he says he’s had opportunities in the United States and Central New York that he never would have had in his native country, including the opportunity to become a doctor.
“I came here with $1,000 in my pocket,” he says. “I believe in giving back to society, that we are all connected.”
Through their profession and philanthropy, it’s a value that Dr. Changlai and his family are carrying on.
This blog was written by Kendall Slee, communications specialist at the Rescue Mission Alliance. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.