Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Virginia
About $91,000 of that total was raised by a team of friends and family of Wells, a Dinwiddie resident who since 2012 has battled a blood cancer. That fundraising success earned him the title of Man of the Year in the 10-week campaign, which culminated with a gala on May 21 at the Altria Theater.
It gets even better: Two days before the gala, Wells got the news from his doctor that he’s cancer-free. “That was good timing,” he says. “We were celebrating more than just the fundraising on Saturday.”
The father of three was diagnosed in 2012 with a blood disease known as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His story is atypical. He was feeling fine, had no symptoms, when he noticed a lump above his chest one day while shaving. He went to have it checked out, and doctors eventually found a huge tumor in his chest.
That led to a regimen of chemotherapy at the VCU Massey Cancer Center for about a year. He was in the hospital for 100 to 120 days during that time. Three years of follow-up maintenance treatment ends in June.
Wells says he was “very lucky and blessed” that the cancer was detected tumor early.
His wife, Ashley, served as campaign manager for his team's fundraising.
They held a series of events,
including a home-run derby at the Dinwiddie High School baseball team’s alumni game, and a wreath-making event and a booth at the Bizarre Bazaar. Their largest fundraiser was an event on Lake Chesdin that featured a steak dinner and live music, and raised $25,000. The bulk of donations raised by his team came from individuals.
This year’s campaign surpassed the previous year’s effort by more than $100,000, and exceeded the goal set for 2016 by $76,000, according to Ann Flippin, campaign director for the Virginia chapter.
Erin Lee McFarland of Newport News was named Woman of the Year for her success in raising $104,000. About 78 percent of money raised by the society goes to research and patient services.
The winners were honored at a sold-out gala emceed by WWBT Channel 12 meteorologist Andrew Frieden.
Blood cancers affect about 1.3 million Americans. They account for about 55,000 deaths in this country each year. About 3,050 cases are diagnosed each year in Virginia, according to the society.
Wells is a big believer in the work of Massey and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He notes that he was told at the time of his diagnosis that he had a 40 percent chance of survival. Ten years before that, his chances would have been half that, he says. That’s where the research funded through the society has come into play.
“Raising money for that research is paramount,” he says.
A Richmond nonprofit that provides free breast cancer screening to women in need will hold a sporting clays fundraiser on July 16.
The event benefits Reach Out For Life, which helps about 275 women a year to obtain comprehensive breast imaging procedures they would otherwise be unable to afford and who have been denied service through other programs. For many of the women, it’s the first mammogram they’ve ever received, according to Norah Lind, the program’s executive director.
The sporting clay event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 16 at Central Virginia Sporting Clays, Virginia Highway 680, Palmyra. The clay pigeon targets will, appropriately enough, be pink, the color that signifies beast cancer awareness. Each participant will shoot at 100 targets.
Lunch, including fried chicken, potato salad, beans and a green salad, will be served.
In sporting clays, the shooter aims a shotgun from different stations at two targets. Targets are released at different speeds and elevations and in erratic trajectories.
The event chair is Marshall Bowden, an avid shooter. About five teams are signed up for the fundraiser, and Reach Out would like to have 10 to 15 for the event. Individuals may sign up for the shoot and will be placed on a team.
“We would like to grow this event into a really fun day of shooting, food and camaraderie,” Bowden says by email.
Gun safety instructions will be provided to each participant.
Reach Out earned nonprofit status in October. It is a successor to the nonprofit Ellen Shaw de Paredes Breast Cancer Foundation, which filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Reach Out partners with 30 area hospitals, clinics and other providers to ensure access to free breast health services to underinsured, low-income women. Click here for a list of participants. The clinics qualify women to participate in the program and also schedule the appointments. Call 804-977-3920.
Pinwheel Ball Postponed
Prevent Child Abuse Virginia has postponed its Pinwheel Ball event.
The nonprofit’s, fundraiser, originally scheduled for May 20, will instead be held in October, with a date to be announced, according to Garrett Johnson, public relations manager. The fall fundraiser will be staged at the Altria Theatre. Tickets to the canceled event will be honored for the October date. Anyone who will be unable to attend in October may request a refund.
The group’s programs include Healthy Families Virginia, which provides support to young families, from pregnancy into child-rearing through age 5; co-sponsorship of a child abuse prevention play through the Virginia Repertory Theatre; Circle of Parents, a community-based parenting group, and a toll-free information line that provides help with parenting issues.
It’s known for Pinwheels for Prevention, held each April, in which participants display pinwheel gardens to promote awareness.
New CFO for VCU Health
VCU Health System has a new chief financial officer, Melinda S. Hancock.
She assumes duties on June 20 and comes to VCU from Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP of
Richmond, according to a release. She also will hold the title of senior executive vice president. Hancock is the 2015-2016 national chair of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and serves on the leadership council of the Virginia Health Innovation Center. She previously worked 10 years with Bon Secours Health System, where she served as chief financial officer and as a senior vice president with Bon Secours Virginia.