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Saint Francis Auxiliary Donates $125,000 at Luncheon

May 5, 2014

The Saint Francis Medical Center Auxiliary presents $125,000 to the Medical Center at the annual luncheon. From left: Ann Beggs, Auxiliary president; Tony Balsano, Vice President – Finance; Marilyn Curtis, Vice President – Professional Services; Debbie Gibson, manager, Volunteer Services and Pastoral Care; and Norman Glaus, Saint Francis Foundation board president.

Pat Cameron Named 2014 Auxilian of the Year

The Saint Francis Medical Center Auxiliary presented $125,000 to Marilyn Curtis, Vice President – Professional Services at Saint Francis Medical Center, at the annual Auxiliary and Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on April 22. The donation is the third installment of an $800,000 pledge over four years.

Curtis said the donation would go toward the $150,000 needed to make the new Healing Garden, currently in development, a reality. “Our goal is to provide a healing environment for patients recovering from stroke, orthopedic surgery and other conditions, as well as for patients’ families and our own employees.”

“Conquering the level surfaces of the hospital hallways and therapy gym is the first step in a patient’s rehabilitation journey, but the outside world is not so patient friendly. That’s where the Healing Garden will provide a two-fold benefit. Thank you for helping us make this beautiful area available to our patients, their families and our staff,” she said.

Once expanded, the Healing Garden will feature situations and challenges patients will encounter as they return to everyday life, from curbs and inclines, to grass, gravel, and other unstable or uneven surfaces. The garden will also provide patients and families with a therapeutic environment for personal reflection or spending time with loved ones outside the confines of the Medical Center.

2014 Auxilian of the Year Pat Cameron
Pat Cameron was named Auxilian of the Year for 2014 at the annual Auxiliary and Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.

Since its start in 1959, the Saint Francis Auxiliary has provided fundraising and volunteer activities benefiting Saint Francis and its patients. The Auxiliary and volunteers have grown to more than 400 members, who donate nearly 50,000 hours of dedicated service yearly – which translates into nearly $1.5 million in addition to the annual financial donation. Beyond the generous gift of time, the Auxiliary has also raised substantial funds for many of the Medical Center’s special projects and expansion plans.

Pat Cameron was named the 2014 Auxilian of the Year at the luncheon. Cameron began her work as a volunteer at Saint Francis 15 years ago, after she retired. She is a familiar face in the Cancer Institute, where she has logged more than 10,000 hours, volunteering two days each week. As a survivor, she is called an “inspiration” by the cancer patients and has gone above and beyond in supporting the fight against the disease. Several years ago, she began hosting garage sales at her home to benefit the American Cancer Society. The event has evolved into a much larger one, and had to eventually move to a local church.

The employees love her as much as the patients do. They say she is a great cook and often tests new recipes on the staff – and they are happy to help! She orders nutritional supplements and puts patient education packets together, in addition to holding hands and mopping up spills.

Outside of Saint Francis, Cameron shares her time and talents with other organizations: She is a FISH volunteer, drives for Meals on Wheels and also helps out at her church. The Cancer Institute staff says she has a “volunteer heart.”

For more information on the Saint Francis Auxiliary or Volunteer Services, call 573-331-5166.

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