Breast cancer treatment advocate Betty Puskar dies at 80

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Betty J. Puskar, a longtime supporter of West Virginia University who helped establish a breast cancer treatment center, has died, the university said. She was 80.

Puskar died Sunday at her Morgantown home. The university did not disclose a cause of death.

“West Virginia University has lost a great friend in Betty Puskar, but her legacy will live on in the lives she has helped save or prolong through her advocacy and support of women’s health,” WVU President Gordon Gee said in a statement.

After seeking treatment for breast cancer in Houston in 1985, Puskar was determined to build a treatment facility in Morgantown. Her initial donation in 1994 helped establish the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center. It is part of the WVU Cancer Institute.

Puskar served on the WVU Cancer Institute’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center board of advisers and was a charter member of the WVU Foundation’s Woodburn Circle Society, which recognizes living donors to the university.

“Betty Puskar will always be a hero to the women of West Virginia,” said Dr. Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, interim director of the WVU Cancer Institute.

Puskar also founded a women’s professional golf tournament that was held in Morgantown for 17 years.

Her husband, Milan “Mike” Puskar, a philanthropist and co-founder of generic drug maker Mylan Inc. in 1961, died in 2011.