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Foundation Trustee Honors Lifesaving Work With Gift To New Hospital


Janet Hunt, ESQ. credits The Valley Hospital with helping set the course for her life. As a sophomore at Ridgewood High School and intent on being a doctor, Janet signed up to volunteer at the hospital, which was at the time only five years old. "That was when I discovered I had a weak stomach," she jokes. She quickly realized she ought to consider a new career path. "Valley was instrumental in helping me figure out what I didn't want to do." Instead of pursuing medicine, Janet attended Harvard Law School, where she was only one of 20 women in her graduating class. She returned to Ridgewood and passed the New Jersey bar, but with no interest in practicing law, she went to Wall Street. Janet built a successful twenty-two year career at the Irving Trust Company, eventually retiring as Senior Vice President and Manager of the Personal Asset Management Division.

After years of purpose-driven volunteer work serving on multiple boards of directors, it was an invitation to an event from clients who were generous Valley donors that brought Janet back to the hospital. As time went on, she found herself more involved with various Valley committees and initiatives, and was recommended to the Foundation's Board of Trustees in 2009. There, her financial acumen allowed her to quickly emerge as an investment authority, joining the Investment Committee and later assuming the role of Chair.

Even with an almost-lifelong connection to the hospital, it was several uncertain cancer diagnoses in a short period of time that allowed Janet to see Valley's lifesaving work firsthand. Fortunately, she was referred to Dr. Thomas Ahlborn, who determined that the tumors were primary tumors, not metastases, which meant that treatment could be very effective. She credits Dr. Ahlborn's compassion and confidence in an ultimately favorable outcome with her own positive outlook and focus on survival.

"How do you thank someone for saving your life multiple times," Janet asks, reflecting years after her initial diagnosis. Her gratitude inspired a generous blended gift commitment in 2019 that includes a campaign gift in support of The Valley Hospital in Paramus, where she will name an Operating Room in Dr. Ahlborn's honor, as well as a planned gift through her estate to create the Edward C., Helga J. [her parents] and Janet E. Hunt Endowment to support programs and services of greatest need at Valley.

Janet is preparing to step down from the Foundation Board after twelve years of remarkable service. A longtime Valley ambassador, she has introduced many new advocates and supporters, all while leading by example with her personal philanthropy as a Women For Health member, Legacy Donor and Lifetime Benefactor. She has no plans to go quietly, however. For Janet, it will be business as usual, just as an Honorary Trustee. "You stay with Valley for the doctors, and because there is a personal connection. I have shown up for the hospital for over sixty years, and plan to keep doing just that."