On Thursday, April 30, over 175 guests gathered together at the Bo Thomas Auditorium on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College to launch a bold Capital Campaign for Pardee Hospital. Under the heading of “Right Here. Right Now.” guests heard from speakers who illuminated the need to build a comprehensive cancer center in our community, complete the operating room integration project, and fund an endowment for future services and training for new staff. This $6 million campaign is one of gand magnitude that will impact our community long into the future. It is also a campaign that will highlight the depth of giving and philanthropy that we know to exist in Henderson County. We saw that at the Kick-Off event.

Cancer Touches All of Us

Marcia Caserio, three-time Cancer survivor and Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign committee brought the house to their feet – literally – when she asked those who had been touched by cancer to stand. She asked first for those who currently have cancer or have had cancer to stand. She then went on to include caregivers, friends, family, colleagues of those with cancer, to stand. By the time she finished, there was not a person left seated. The entire auditorium, including the speakers on stage, were standing.

Her point is not lost on us. Cancer indeed touches us all and will continue to do so in the future.

A Video Presentation

As part of the evening’s program, a video case statement was presented to the audience. We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Thomas L. Eisenhauer and Dr. Bill Medina take viewers through the nationally accredited cancer program we have “right here and right now” to the need for a more comprehensive cancer center, with most primary services housed in one location under one roof.

Kim Hinkelman, Executive Director for the Pardee Hospital Foundation was able to highlight the value of a gift of endowment. Marcia Caserio offered her very poignant perspective of the devastation that a cancer diagnosis can have on a family, as well as the very hopeful outlook that living in a community such as ours – one that gives and “steps in with both feet” to support something much larger than themselves. Jay Kirby, II, CEO of Pardee Hospital finished up the video by asking our community to join us “right here, right now” in bringing advanced, compassionate care to the region.

A link has been provided above, or you can watch the video here:

Not a Dry Eye in the House

We were very fortunate to have Rachel Willingham, a two-time Cancer survivor, mother of five, and North Henderson High School teacher, share her story with the audience that night. She was very real, humble, funny, and most of all authentic in her portrayal of what a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can do to a person and the people they love. Rachel received her treatment at Pardee Hospital/HHO and was very gracious in her appreciation for her oncologist Dr. Radford, her nurse Leann Nokes, and her surgeon Dr. Eisenhauer. She urged the audience to support this campaign “right here, right now” because as a cancer patient, that’s exactly how she chose to live her life. Rachel made the point that as friends and family, there really isn’t much we can do to take the burden off our loved ones with cancer. What we can do is support the creation of something so transformational like this cancer center.

We’re Off to a Great Start!

Dr. Bill Medina, Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign committee with Marcia Caserio, made the final remarks of the night. Noting that this would be a one to two year process, and that we would eventually reach everyone, he wanted to also let the crowd know that to date, the Foundation has raised $1.7 million. What a great start!

Thank you for joining us and if you missed the event, here are a few articles that highlight the comments made and the sentiment in the room that night.

Times-News/Blue Ridge Now

Hendersonville Lightning

Hendersonville Lightning Editorial