After 13 years of experience in Maryland real estate, David Orso decided to use his skills to better equip those entering the housing market by writing a book. That this effort would also become a way to pay tribute to his wife was a heartbreaking coincidence.
The book, "Step Inside: The Unfiltered Truth About Listing and Selling Your Home," reveals insider advice on finding the best agent, listing and pricing a home, roles of listing agents, and how to go from listed to sold smoothly.
But months before the book was published, Orso's wife Dawn was diagnosed with breast cancer. The care she received at Anne Arundel Medical Center inspired Orso to donate all the proceeds from the book sales to the hospital.
"Our community just rallied," Orso said. "[My wife and I] are so inspired by how much we received, and it makes us want to give 10 times more than we ever imagined."
Although the Orso family was already supporting Anne Arundel Medical Center through a philanthropy group called Building Traditions, the funds from book sales will specifically support research on breast cancer through clinical trials at the AAMC Research Institute.
"I didn't know how else to thank them," said Orso, who lives with his wife and three children in Arnold. "It seemed very natural to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to them for everything they do for families like ours and for other families that need help. It's a very small token of our appreciation."
According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 in 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, many organizations are launching campaigns to promote education and awareness.
Orso said he is proud of his wife and how she has faced her diagnosis with such strength.
"She's been an inspiration for our whole family to be positive and to never give up," he said. "She has gone through so much with a smile on her face."
Dawn Orso said her husband has also shown tremendous strength during her illness. She said he attended every doctor's appointment and kept their family focused and positive while she underwent treatment.
"I could not have been more supportive of his decision to donate the proceeds of the book to AAMC," she said.
In honor of Dawn Orso, the medical center is hosting the Dawn Orso 5K on Oct. 12 at Camp Letts in Edgewater to benefit the breast cancer research fund.
"Everyone wanted to do something for them because they are so well liked in the community," said Lisa Michelsen, director of advancement for the Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation.
Orso, a Severna Park native who received his MBA from Loyola College, leads the David Orso Group, a real estate firm affiliated with Century 21 New Millennium. He said he wrote the book to share his real estate knowledge in an honest and straightforward way.
"This book is about helping homeowners protect their largest asset — their homes," Orso said. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Beyond homebuyers and sellers, Orso is no stranger to helping others. A dedicated golfer, he is a longtime supporter of The First Tee of Baltimore, a nonprofit dedicated to introducing underprivileged youths to golf. Orso also recently joined the board at Bello Machre, an organization in Glen Burnie that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities.
But his connection to Anne Arundel Medical Center has always been linked to his family — all three of his kids were born at the hospital and his wife received breast cancer treatment there.
"Residential real estate is all about the home and the family," said Orso. "With Anne Arundel Medical Center, we truly felt like my wife was being treated as a sister or a daughter of one of the staff."
For more information, visit davidorso.com. Details on the Dawn Orso 5K/Family Fun Day can be found at https://give.aahs.org/orso.