The Penny Campaign is something that Community Health Network volunteer Bette Wilson, a cancer survivor, dreamed up two years ago as a new idea to raise money for cancer research and patient care support programs. Her slogan is simple: “I would give my last penny to cure cancer. Wouldn’t you?” Newly designed collection jars are now located at various physician offices, radiation centers and hospitals including:
By the time she discovered her own breast cancer, Wilson had already lost both her mother and, more recently, her husband to this dreadful disease (a son is a two-time survivor). It was during her treatment that she determined she must find a way to help others and began working as a volunteer at CHN Cancer Center even before completing her own treatment. Still going strong in her second year of volunteering, she says, “I just want to give back for the wonderful treatment I received and to fight back at the cancer.” She explains that, “Patients need to see our hospital as the hospital with a heart, and our cancer program as one of hope, and our dedicated staff as healers.”
To date, more than $500 has been deposited in the Penny Campaign jars and will go toward cancer research and patient care support programs within the network. In addition, Bill Kingston, president of Community Health Network Foundation, has pledged to donate the proceeds from both fountains at Community North, including the one in front of the Breast Diagnostic Center, to the Penny Campaign when the wishing coins are collected twice a year. Envelopes for memorial contributions are available at each donation site and hand-written acknowledgement notes will be mailed to survivors.
Now, after a second bout with breast cancer, Wilson’s resolve is even stronger. She likens the discovery of one’s own cancer to a deep crevasse. “When you step into it, you must believe one of two things. Either there will be something solid to stand on or you will learn to fly,” she says.” Our patients can stand solidly, knowing they are receiving quality medical care, as we share our faith in their recovery and help dissipate their fears.” Wilson chooses to walk with these patients as an earthly angel and provider of that hope for a better future.
“What we’re interested in is a cure,” affirms Wilson. It’s been a long journey for this survivor, whose infectious and vibrant spirit makes her an indomitable force of determination. “And it will take all of us working together,” she adds, “one penny at a time, if necessary, to make that happen. Employees, physicians, patients–we have all lost someone to cancer, so we all need to come together to support this.”