This year’s Winterlark fundraiser to support cancer patients at Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center was the most successful in history, raising more than $329,000 for the Cancer Patient Support Program.
The 36th annual event was held Feb. 9 at Graylyn International Conference Center with Capital Bank serving as presenting sponsor. Patti and Phil Shugart of Winston-Salem chaired the event. More than 500 people attended, and more than 100 members of the community volunteered to help stage the gala.
The event used music therapy as its theme, as a harpist, pianist, jazz trio and vocalist entertained attendees with music representative of what a patient or family member may experience at the Cancer Center. Volunteers who work with the Cancer Patient Support Program were honored for their contributions to patient care.
“It is heartening to see an event that generates this kind of support from the community, year after year,” said Julie Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “We deeply appreciate this partnership with the community and what it means for the patients and families we care for.”
The Cancer Patient Support Program provides counseling, patient education, support groups and other services to the community free of charge at the Cancer Center. The program, which began in 1980, has been widely recognized as a best practices model for cancer centers nationwide.
“Many of the loyal Winterlark volunteers have worked for years raising the funds to address the needs of thousands of patients. Importantly, the event raises awareness of the challenges all families face with a cancer diagnosis,” said Program Director Richard McQuellon, Ph.D. “We are deeply grateful for the heartfelt support we receive that allows us to listen carefully to patient stories and to provide for the social and psychological needs of cancer patients and their families.”
The funds raised through the event provide 50 percent of the program’s annual operating budget.
“Winterlark plays a key role in sustaining our Cancer Patient Support Program,” said Lisa Marshall, Wake Forest Baptist Health’s chief philanthropy officer and vice president of philanthropy and alumni relations. “It has been extremely successful for a number of years in part because it gives the community a very direct way to support the compassionate, healing work that goes on at our Comprehensive Cancer Center. To all those who have attended, to our volunteers and to our many sponsors, we say thank you.
The 37th annual Winterlark is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2020, at Graylyn and will be chaired by Cathy and Chris Pace. Allegacy Federal Credit Union will serve as presenting sponsor for the next three years.