After just three months, we are excited to announce the Brian Robinson $1 million Community Challenge for the Foundation’s Capital Campaign has been met. We are incredibly grateful to Brian and the nearly 180 people who donated to the campaign with individual gifts ranging from $25 to $50,000. Of those donors, 64 gave $1,000 or more to the campaign and 55 people made their first contribution to Pardee Hospital Foundation. Surprisingly, the challenge’s three largest gifts were all from new donors who were inspired by Robinson’s challenge to the community and decided to pledge their support to their new hometown as well.
Many will remember that Brian Robinson pledged $500,000 to the $6 million Capital Campaign in a surprise public announcement at our 19th Annual Women Helping Women luncheon on October 28. There, Robinson issued a challenge to the community to raise an additional $250,000, which he would match dollar for dollar to reach a total of $1 million. This is the largest gift to the campaign since it began in April 2015, pushing the total raised to date to $5 million from just 515 donors.
“The enthusiastic response to Brian’s challenge has been gratifying and heartwarming,” said Kimerly Hinkelman, executive director of Pardee Hospital Foundation. “With less than $1 million to go, we are reaching out to people to encourage them to help us finish this historic achievement and become a part of the future of health care in Henderson County. Not only will the Cancer Center treat and cure thousands of our friends, family members and neighbors over the next 25 years, but the Health Sciences Center will help to educate and produce a majority of health care providers who will take care of us for the next 50 years.”
“I am honored to match the community’s generous $250,000 contribution, bringing the total to $1 million for the new Cancer Center at Pardee,” said Robinson. “Our community is strongest when we work together and I am proud to call Henderson County my home.”
The Cancer Center opened in December 2016 through an innovative collaboration with Henderson County, the City of Hendersonville, Wingate University and Blue Ridge Community College. The new, state-of-the-art health sciences building also houses Pardee Surgical Associates as well as existing programs in allied health care, pharmacy, and physician assistant studies from Blue Ridge Community College and Wingate University.
Robinson is originally from east Tennessee and became affiliated with the region as an actor with the Flat Rock Playhouse many years ago. He only recently decided to put down roots in Henderson County to make it his permanent residence, buying a home in Flat Rock in 2015. When asked why this gift and why give to the Cancer Center at Pardee Hospital, Robinson notes that he’s been blessed with good health his whole life and like so many others, took it for granted. It was on a two-week intensive health retreat last fall in California that Robinson says he underwent a transformative experience that at the time wasn’t apparent. It was only upon his return and a visit to the Cancer Center with his friend and capital campaign committee member Debbie Rouse that the true impact of his retreat surfaced. This behind the scenes tour was instrumental in Brian’s “aha” moment and we’re so grateful that it happened.
Jean Ann Rushton is the Regent of the Joseph McDowell Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Hendersonville.
“We are a service organization and always want to support projects in our community,” says Rushton. “Several members of our chapter have faced cancer, either themselves or as caregivers. We wanted to give back to Pardee because we believe having a strong cancer center here in Henderson County is so important.”
Rushton personally has had experience with Pardee. Her sister received cancer treatment and her husband has had several minor surgical procedures at the hospital. “Pardee is so convenient to us and we received wonderful care,” she says. “The doctors and nurses were very helpful and friendly, the facility was nice and clean, and the service was excellent.”
In commemoration of the Joseph McDowell DAR Chapter’s 100th anniversary, members raised money to name a nurse navigation room in the new Cancer Center. “We are so proud to have our name outside the nurse navigation room,” she says. “Pardee’s nurse navigation program really helps people when they are first diagnosed all the way through their cancer journey.”
Rushton says the Joseph McDowell DAR Chapter is honored to support the Cancer Center at Pardee. “Our chapter is really delighted to have a cancer center of this caliber so close to home. To have access to this level of care is phenomenal for Henderson County residents.”
Join our community challenge today to raise $250,000 to help our family, friends, neighbors, and loved ones receive better outcomes and more convenient care.
Brian Robinson recently moved to Flat Rock and decided to firmly put down roots. Actually, he is digging in and connecting with the community in a tremendous manner:
On Thursday, October 27, Brian decided to make a $500,000 pledge to the Pardee Cancer Center capital campaign. On Friday, October 28, at the annual Women Helping Women luncheon, Brian announced to a crowd of over 460 community leaders that he not only had pledged that amount, but that he would like to issue a challenge to the community to raise an additional $250,000, of which he will match dollar for dollar, in order to reach a total goal of $1 million.
Originally from a small town in east Tennessee, Brian became affiliated with the region as an actor with the Flat Rock Playhouse many years ago. He made Flat Rock his permanent residence when he bought his home in 2015. When asked why this gift and why give to the Cancer Center at Pardee Hospital, Robinson responds with passion and enthusiasm that he’s been blessed with good health his whole life and like so many others, took it for granted. It was on a recent two-week intensive health retreat in California that Robinson says he underwent a transformative experience that at the time wasn’t apparent. It was only upon his return home to Henderson County and a visit to the Cancer Center with his friend and capital campaign committee member Debbie Rouse that the true impact of his retreat surfaced. This behind the scenes tour was instrumental in Brian’s “aha” moment.
“I was so overcome and overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of this place,” said Robinson. “I knew that this Cancer Center was going to be a place of healing – both physically and spiritually – and I wanted to be a part of it in a significant way.” Robinson went on to meet with Foundation executive director Kimerly Hinkelman to discuss his intention to contribute. It was at that meeting that he came up with the idea of challenging the community to join him. The thought at the time was “why not engage more people in this caring community?” Let’s harness the power of giving and see this campaign through to completion.
“I give because it is my duty. I have been blessed with the most precious of gifts: good health. This place of hope will restore that gift to those less fortunate.”
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David and Deanna Ellis are both from a small town in Tennessee that creates a unique perspective on the impact that a dedicated group of people can have on the delivery of critical health care within their community.
After David finished medical school at Tulane, the couple moved to Charleston for David’s residency at MUSC. When they began to look at places to live, they knew they wanted to be somewhere with a change of seasons – after spending so many years in the hot weather, they were ready to have fall, winter and spring! When David came to Hendersonville and toured the area with Dr. Marion Ross, he fell in love with it immediately. They knew they wanted to settle in a smaller town and live in a place where they could be active contributors to their community. They had two small children at the time, and wanted a safe place for them to grow up.
David was the “young” doctor at Hendersonville OBGYN at the time, with lots of fresh ideas of how to practice Obstetrics. But he also learned many things from Dr. Ross during his tenure there. In 1987, their practice was the only practice at Pardee Hospital offering obstetrics. David was instrumental in bringing Labor Delivery Recovery Post-partum (LDRP) rooms to Pardee Hospital, insisting that this was best practice for Obstetrics and more importantly for the mother and baby. This was a radical change and great accomplishment, as there were no other hospitals in the area with LDRP rooms.
After 11 years with Hendersonville OB/GYN, David decided to go out on his own. He has been at the current practice since then, transitioning to a Pardee-owned practice in August 2015, and then becoming the Chief Medical Officer at Pardee Hospital in that same year. Pardee Hospital has always been David’s choice of hospital in which to work. He recognized the quality of the other physicians and nurses from the very beginning, and had no desire to work at any other place.
David and Deanna have been supporters of Pardee since moving to Hendersonville. David has been active on various committees, and Deanna was active in the medical society auxiliary until it disbanded. Since then, she has found a home volunteering at the Pardee Hospital Foundation, assisting with events and now serving as a Board member. The couple has always considered it a privilege to be able to actively support Pardee and the Foundation.
When the Foundation began its capital campaign to fund the Cancer Center, the Ellises immediately felt drawn to contribute in a substantial way towards the center. While they have not been touched by cancer in a personal way, they have experienced it with friends and patients who have.
They heard firsthand how challenging it was for patients to go from one place to another, and keep up with where they were supposed to be for the different treatments. When they learned that a new facility would be built and would offer everything in one place, they were drawn to that.
I love the slogan “Right here, Right now,” said Deanna. “We are so fortunate to have this Cancer Center right here in our community, with highly qualified doctors and nurses taking care of our patients and friends. They no longer have to wonder where they need to go or who they need to see. Most services will be offered right here. This is such a blessing and we want to be part of it!”
The couple feels it is important to show support for the community where they live. Supporting the Cancer Center is their way of saying just how much they value this community and want to see it continue to flourish. The Ellises dedicated a room in the new center to their children in the hopes that they never have to use it, but to show what giving means. “You would be hard pressed to find a community of our size with a 200-bed hospital that has the high quality of care and providers that Pardee does,” said Deanna Ellis.
Jim and Shirley Crafton are both longtime supporters of Pardee Hospital. Both have either worked or volunteered their time at Pardee over the years and see their support for the Cancer Center as simply the right thing to do.
Shirley has been a volunteer with Pardee since 2000, where her mother Ruth Tillman volunteered before her. They shared their sewing skills by volunteering their time in “Workshop 2”. It is there that Shirley makes clowns and other items that are sold in the hospital gift shop. Shirley also volunteers in the Garden Café as her schedule permits.
Jim worked for Pardee as an interim Director of Engineering for two years, filling in when the hospital needed him. His work and Shirley’s time as a volunteer instilled in them that Pardee is a good organization and their involvement was natural.
Like so many, Jim also has a personal interest in the Cancer Center: he is a two-time cancer survivor, and has a family history of cancer. “Cancer has affected my family in numerous ways. My mother had breast cancer twice; my brother died from cancer; and in 2006, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Within eight years of that diagnosis, I received my second diagnosis of prostate cancer. Even though my kidney was removed at another facility, Pardee detected my first cancer. Pardee also treated me for my second diagnosis with radiation and hormone treatment.”
When asked why they chose to donate to the Cancer Center at Pardee, Jim and Shirley noted their appreciation for the work that Pardee Hospital does. “I believe in Pardee Hospital,” said Jim. “An investment in the Cancer Center and what it can do for people will be significant for our community.”
Shirley adds that all of us want the hospital and the Cancer Center to be the best it can be if we need to go for care. Supporting it financially is “part of giving back to your community and making the community what it is.”