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Dolly and Rakesh Agarwal Generously Donate to Cancer Center

Rakesh and his wife Dolly moved to Hendersonville from India 31 years ago. They had a two-year old daughter, $20 and the promise of a job. Rakesh was to become a Production Manager at a textile company in Hendersonville, making $1,000/month – barely enough to make ends meet.

Rakesh notes with great affection when recounting this story that it was the generosity of this community that helped his family during that time and the generosity of his adopted country that instilled in him and his wife a strong intention to give back. “It has been our intention to give back all along,” says Rakesh.

“We were not taught to give back in India. America taught me to give back. No other place on Earth is as giving and teaches volunteer work like this country.” Coming from such a poor background where he rarely had enough to eat, no more than two pairs of shoes during an entire year, and being a first generation immigrant, it became a priority for Rakesh to give back both to his home country and his adopted country.

This level of community generosity stuck with Dolly and Rakesh and they in turn began supporting the community that gave so much to them.

The Agarwals have given financially to Four Seasons Compassion for Life and the Flat Rock Playhouse. When asked about their motivation for giving, Rakesh points to close friendships and relationships that illustrate compassion and in turn, inspired giving. Personal experiences have touched them greatly and they wanted to do something to support these important community organizations in a way that would help make a difference.

Rakesh and Dolly recently made a pledge to give $50,000 to the Pardee Cancer Center. The Agarwals noted that while they have not personally experienced cancer, they have both seen so many cases of cancer among their friends and close associates. They see them dealing with cancer and it makes them want to do something. “In our community, to have a Cancer Center such as this is a great thing.”

The Agarwals consider it a blessing to be able to do what they do. “Many people have means,” notes Rakesh. “God has guided us to make these gifts. We are blessed.”

Andrew Schmidt

Andrew Schmidt joined Pardee Hospital Foundation in November 2023 as a Donor Engagement Officer. Andrew began his career in fundraising at his alma mater, Sewanee: The University of the South, as an assistant director in charge of reunions and volunteers, working on milestone giving campaigns as well as alumni engagement and stewardship events. Andrew holds a BA in Philosophy from Sewanee and recently earned a MA in Applied Arts & Sciences from the Liberal and Interdisciplinary Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Andrew previously served the Henderson Country community as an Advancement Analyst at nearby Kanuga Conference Center, where he was responsible for donor database administration, prospect research, and raising funds in support of a $15M capital campaign centered on a comprehensive renovation of the then-47-year-old Kanuga Lake Inn. Andrew looks forward to helping advance the mission of UNC Health and Pardee Hospital Foundation across the Western North Carolina region, and particularly in Transylvania County. When he’s not out and about visiting with donors, you can usually find Andrew scampering around DuPont and Pisgah with his wife, Sara and preschool-age son, Arthur.