Dartmouth Medicine HomeCurrent IssueAbout UsContact UsSearchPodcasts

Millionaire contestant shares his largesse

All of us are pretty sure that if we got the chance, we could win that million dollars on the wildly popular TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? But a man with ties to DHMC actually did—or at he least got a quarter of the way there.

He's Dan DeMars of Norwich, Vt., who won $250,000 on the show last February. He was asked to return a few months ago for a "Tournament of Champions," with the stipulation that half his winnings would go to a charity of his choice. For De- Mars and his wife, Leslie DeMars, M.D., a gynecological oncologist at DHMC, the choice of charity was an easy one. Both their mothers had died of cancer, so any winnings, they decided, would be donated to start the Evelyn DeMars-Helene Robbins Research Endowment at DHMC's Norris Cotton Cancer Center. "We thought about which charities we cared about," says DeMars, "and came up with the idea of creating a research endowment at Dartmouth to honor our mothers."

Photo: Maria Melin/ABC

Unfortunately, DeMars didn't win in his return appearance —he was 0-for-3 in his "fast fingers" attempts to reach the show's fabled hot seat. But he'd decided that even if he didn't win, he would devote himself to the creation of the DeMars- Robbins Research Endowment.

The DeMarses moved to the area in 1997, and Dan recently started a consulting firm to help biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies with research and development and marketing. "It's been quite a year," he says. "Not only have I launched a new firm, but I had a successful appearance on national television, made my Upper Valley neighbors proud, and started a research endowment here at Dartmouth." Is that all? "Actually," he adds, "one of the unexpected surprises this year was delivering the commencement address to the Class of 2000 at my high school back in Herkimer, N.Y."

The endowment, DeMars says, is off to a good start: "We've already had numerous contributions—several from some of my fellow contestants on Millionaire—and are well on our way to our goal of establishing a meaningful way to support cancer research. Naturally, we welcome all contributions!" M.M.C.

If you would like to offer any feedback about this article, we would welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

Back to Vital Signs

Dartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College