Couple gives $1 million to hospital in Arundel

Native Baltimoreans help fund new facility to treat breast cancer

February 22, 2005|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

The way Arnold residents Joseph and Doris Aiello put it, the decision to part with $1 million came easily.

What's more, the couple said that donating the large sum - which they recently pledged to North Arundel Hospital's new breast center - felt great.

"You wouldn't think we would feel so wonderful about giving away this kind of money," said Joseph Aiello, who owns three JBA car dealerships in Glen Burnie and Ellicott City. "But we do."

In pledging $1 million to the center, which is scheduled to open this summer, the Aiellos became one of North Arundel Hospital's largest private donors.

"For any hospital this is a significant contribution," said Beth Peters, North Arundel Hospital's vice president for development. "Everyone here is thrilled."

One-stop treatment

Peters said the gift will go directly toward building a state-of-the-art, one-stop breast cancer diagnosis and treatment facility. To be named the Aiello Breast Center, the $1.5 million facility will have an education center, where patients can learn about their treatment options and seek support. The center will be at 203 Hospital Drive, on the lower level of the now-vacant North Arundel Professional Center.

Peters added that the pledge also helped the hospital recruit Dr. Cynthia Drogula, a breast surgeon at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, as its new director.

Asked why they chose to help the hospital's new center, the Aiellos said that although none of their immediate family members have suffered from breast cancer, plenty of people in their community have.

"Anne Arundel County has many victims of breast cancer," Joseph Aiello said. "And it's a disease that can be treated if it's detected early."

The Aiellos, who are longtime residents of Anne Arundel County, said it was a tour of North Arundel's Tate Cancer Center last summer that inspired them to give to the hospital, where one of their three sons is a heart surgeon.

`We wanted to give'

"We were so impressed that we wanted to give," Joseph Aiello said, adding that they first gave $250,000 to the Tate Cancer Center. "The hospital has helped many people in our community, including friends and members of our family."

Married 46 years, the Aiellos both grew up in working-class families in East Baltimore. Joseph Aiello owns three auto dealerships - JBA Infinity in Ellicott City, and JBA Chevrolet and JBA Mitsubishi in Glen Burnie - which two of the couple's sons help manage.

"We never thought we'd have any money at all, let alone enough to give it away," said Doris Aiello.

Her husband added: "This is a big gift for us, but we always said that if the opportunity came along to benefit the community, we were going to step up in a big way. We felt this was the right time."

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