Legacy Giving Spotlight: Zita Rahbar
“When I see a participant smile, or talk about surviving longer than expected, it is the highest reward of all. I feel that in my small way, I’ve helped win another victory in my fight with cancer.”
-Zita Rahbar, Legacy Donor
“Sleep is overrated.” This is how Zita Rahbar explains how she manages owning a business, serving on the board of three organizations, volunteering for the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara, and her many hobbies. She adds, “I juggle priorities. I tend to leave myself for last. The way I look at it, I do well for myself by doing all the other things, because I value them so much.”
It is clear to anyone who knows Zita just how much she values her work on behalf of the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara (CscVvsb). She is a long-time member and past chair of the Board of Directors. She has also chaired the Nominating, Marketing and IT Committees, set up the Internet connection for the office, and created and maintained two websites for CscVvsb.
Zita’s path toward CscVvsb was a long road consisting of two major steps. When Zita was ten years old her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she succumbed after a valiant ten-year battle, Zita vowed to fight cancer for the rest of her life. She went on to conduct research in biophysics and cellular physiology.
Years later, her brother was diagnosed with lung cancer. When the cancer metastasized and medications no longer controlled pain, she took him to a Cancer Support Community in Santa Monica where she saw first-hand how participation in their programs helped her brother psychologically and decreased his pain. She then decided that this was an essential part of the cancer patient’s road to survival.
Although participation in CSC programs was very helpful to Zita’s brother, the trip from Westlake Village to Santa Monica soon became too painful and he had to discontinue. At that point, there were no other Cancer Support Communities in the area, so they had to try to help themselves.
In 1987, soon after her brother died, Zita received a letter from Marty Nason (Co-Founder and past VP of Programs at CscVvsb) saying that she and fellow nurse Beth Kin were trying to start a Cancer Support Community in the area and asking for help. Realizing the great need for a local CSC, she decided to help by publishing their Newsletter and supporting their marketing efforts.
“Although my original intent was to help only for a short while, because of Marty and the participants’ needs, I never left,” she says.
Zita has taken another step in her support of CscVvsb that will provide a legacy of hope to future generations – she has provided for the organization in her will. “After losing my mother, brother, and several friends to cancer, I was determined to do all I can to help others survive as long as possible,” says Zita. “Through CscVvsb, I have helped provide support and hope that often enables cancer patients to prolong their lives; I would like this support to continue after I’m gone.”
In her professional career, Zita transitioned from research into finance and marketing and worked many years as a management consultant and later as VP of Marketing at Blue Cross of California. She now owns Creative Marketing Solutions, which specializes in providing marketing assistance. She is a scoutmaster, serves on the boards of Lithuanian Scouts Association (a scouting organization for youth of Lithuanian descent) and Bethune Theatredanse/Infinite Dreams; enjoys travel, opera, photo restoration, helping rescued animals, target-shooting, driving, and much more.
CscVvsb is fortunate to count on a woman of so many diverse interests and talents as a dedicated supporter and Legacy Donor.