Originally published in The Weekly Packet, December 22, 2011 Penobscot Bay Press
TradeWinds Marketplace launches “Pumped Up To Fight Cancer” initiative
Local business owners Chuck and Belinda Lawrence have watched many friends and employees battle cancer in recent years. The couple has become impassioned about the early detection and treatment of cancer patients. Beginning on January 1, 2012, the couple will begin donating one cent per gallon of gasoline sold at their pumps to hospitals located in close proximity to their businesses in Blue Hill, Brewer, Eddington and Milo, a press release says. Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will benefit from the gasoline sold at the TradeWinds Marketplace located on South Street, less than two miles from the hospital. The Lawrences estimate that their 2012 gift to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will total between $20,000 and $25,000, based on their 2011 fuel sales.
“Belinda and I started talking about how to help cancer patients earlier this fall,” says Lawrence, who considers himself fortunate that cancer has never struck his immediate family. “We’re pumped up to fight cancer in our community, and hope that our customers will be, too.”
Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will use the proceeds from gas sales to help patients who cannot afford routine screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. The funds can also be used to help improve the environment of care that patients encounter throughout the hospital, but especially in its oncology unit.
“We worked closely with Chuck and Belinda to develop a plan that is intentionally broad, so that we have the flexibility to use their gift where it can be the most helpful to our patients,” says Kim Goff, senior director of advancement for Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. “We know that education and support can help prevent cancer and improve the lives of patients and their families who have already been impacted by cancer. The Lawrences’ gift will help us provide support for current patients and their loved ones, as well as outreach activities that inform the public about steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of many cancers.”
Blue Hill Memorial Hospital has four primary care practices, a specialty practice that includes general surgery, and a women’s health practice, all of which work to prevent or treat cancer. “We are also fortunate to have an affiliation with CancerCare of Maine,” says Connie Barrett, RN and chief nursing officer. “We can provide many types of very personalized and convenient care here in Blue Hill, while maintaining excellent referral relationships with the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer. The Brewer facility has outstanding, specialized resources such as radiation equipment, which are not practical for a community hospital like ours.”
In addition to its practices, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital offers digital mammography and high definition endoscopy equipment which are helpful in detecting breast and colorectal cancer, respectively. The hospital also has a number of other services which are helpful to cancer patients, including ultrasound and CT imaging, nutritional counseling from a registered dietician, and physical and occupational therapy to help patients recover from surgery and other treatments.
Chuck and Belinda Lawrence approach their philanthropy as a team. “My wife has been a good influence on me,” says Chuck Lawrence, adding that their gift is not about selling more gas but about giving back to his customers and employees. “Almost giving is not enough. There’s something that each of us can do to fight cancer in our community.”