Frances "Billie" Wilson Field lived her life on her own terms. Born in 1911, she grew up in an era when it was rare for a woman to pursue an independent career. But Field followed her own path, eventually into her role as a lab technician working to find ways to treat and prevent diseases.
When she died in 2005 at the age of 94, Field left behind a bequest of nearly $150,000 to Dana-Farber, ensuring that future generations of scientists would be supported in their own efforts to combat cancer. This final act of generosity is indicative of a life spent working behind the scenes to help others.
Field was an orphan, raised by her aunt and uncle in Worcester, Mass., where she spent most of her life. Never married, the determined young woman earned her lab accreditation from Harvard Medical School and worked in Boston-area hospitals and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. In the later part of her life, Field retired to Falmouth, Mass.
"Billie believed strongly in a woman making her own way, having her own career," said Field's friend, Madeline Turner. "She was a good friend." Her generosity is now set to help thousands of cancer patients. With this unrestricted bequest, Field's legacy will live on in the work being done every day at Dana-Farber.
Learn more about unrestricted bequests
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