how selfless is giving if it feels so great?
Muscle Car Museum program puts torque behind message, wellness takes all of us.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – At Mark Pieloch’s American Muscle Car Museum in Melbourne Wednesday night, one of the Health First Foundation’s Celebration of Giving honorees said the quiet part aloud – how selfless is giving if it feels so great?
That’s the question on painter Jan Bryant’s mind. Bryant hosts monthly painting workshops at Health First’s Aging Services’ Center for Family Caregivers. They’re for adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia – and they’re free. It’s a day’s work for the professional painter; the supplies are paid for by the Foundation.
“It just fills my heart. It is really, really a benefit to me. I don’t want to say ‘Selfishly, I do it for myself,’ but I do feel really wonderful,” she said.
On this riddling matter, Bryant isn’t alone. Celebration of Giving was a major-league lineup of inspiring lives, life-saving generosity and major donors – all mingling among the vintage Ford GTs and Shelby Cobras on showcase in the museum’s atrium (itself a slice of the museum’s entire collection).
One was Meredith Haley, whose late mother, Myra Igo Haley, designated a significant portion of her estate to fund technology that literally saves and prolongs lives – an Electrophysiology lab will be named after her.
Another is Shirley Friedland. A retired professional fundraiser herself, the Friedlands’ substantial gift to the health system was matched by other donors, and together is helping fund a Health First Cancer Institute staff position – a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
“That’s not all,” Health First Foundation President Michael Seeley told the crowd. “Shirley and her husband, Paul, are fund holders at the Community Foundation for Brevard, and she worked closely with Theresa Grimison, CEO of the foundation, to see what their fund might do.
“Shirley, with Theresa, shared her estate commitment to fund this new position in perpetuity.”
The Friedlands also support the Compassionate Care Fund, which makes Guardian Angel Grants, and the Bright Star Center for Grieving Children and Families, both of which were showcased – and applauded – in video narratives.
Other highpoints include these:
■ Health First’s Nursing Scholarships program, which has supported hundreds of nurses furthering their education;
■ Staff and leaders of Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center’s Heart Center, which just marked its 1,000th successful transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR); and,
■ The ongoing success of the Golf Classic, which has raised millions for Health First’s Aging Services.
The Classic has recently been chaired by Dana and Briggs Kilbourne, and Health First Board Chair and Interim CEO Kent Smith, who shared with the crowd that he is a cancer survivor.
“A Health First Primary Care Provider found my cancer. A Health First surgeon removed it. A Health First post-op nurse watched over me. And a Health First floor nurse cared for me. It took me six more months until I got out on the tennis courts and out on the golf course again, but Health First held my hand the entire time,” he said. “I’ve often asked the question, ‘Is it possible to love a health care system?’ I think you can. I do.”
Similarly, the night’s host, Mark Pieloch, shared that he, his wife and his son have all had occasion to seek medical care at Health First.
“Having been there, I can tell you, from the security person to the receptionist, to the nurses to the physicians, to the administration, everybody I’d give an A+,” he said, “Again, I want to thank everybody for supporting Health First.”