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The End of an Era – The Last Harvest Ball Gala Kicks Off Cancer Care Initiatives at CalvertHealth

The CalvertHealth Foundation Gala was held at MGM National Harbor on November 12. The event was a huge success thanks to extraordinary support from corporate, community and individual sponsors which raised nearly $450,000 toward enhancing cancer care for our community. Special thanks to Presenting Sponsors DeCesaris/Prout Cancer Foundation and Curtis Investment Group.

After 34 years, the CalvertHealth Foundation announced in September the 2022 Gala for Cancer Care would be the last Harvest Ball Gala. Theresa Johnson, Vice President of Brand Strategy and Philanthropy for CalvertHealth said, “While this is the end of an era for the Harvest Ball Gala, it marks the beginning of our effort to continue to transform cancer care for our community.”

Dr. Theodore Tsangaris kicked off the evening’s program talking about the recent partnership with Duke Health. “As a provider, I can tell you that a relationship with an NCI-designated center gives our physicians and staff access to continual education on the latest thinking in cancer care - from experts who are doing the research and will give us the capacity to bring clinical trials to our local community.” He demonstrated the need by asking guests to look around the room, noting that 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 2 men would be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Tsangaris added, “I think it’s important for us to remember that at the core of what is happening is how these cancer initiatives impact the lives of the people who rely on us for their care. We are doing this for the hundreds of newly diagnosed cancer patients we treat every year and the thousands of cancer survivors who need our ongoing care and support.”

CalvertHealth President and CEO Dean Teague, who will be stepping down in February 2023, highlighted some of the health system’s most notable contributions over the years, many of which were made possible through funds raised at the Harvest Ball Gala. “Together, we have forged strategic partnerships, recruited world-class physicians and converted to all private patient rooms – all while maintaining our independence. We know taking on cancer is an extraordinary feat for an independent, not-for-profit community hospital like CalvertHealth, but that’s what it will take to level the playing field. Our patients and our community deserve the best,” said Teague. Teague also recognized the 66 Gala Committee members who helped raise more than $5 million over the past 34 years.

Gala Co-Chairs Linda Sinagra-Smith and Teresa Schrodel spoke about their own personal journeys with cancer. Schrodel, who lost her husband to testicular cancer when he was 29 years old, talked about the importance of quality cancer care close to home. “I do not want others to have to go through what we went through. To have to leave the county and lose precious time with their friends and family members to seek cancer care.” She continued, “What we are doing here tonight matters. I would wager that nearly everyone in this room has a loved one or knows someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. Every single one of those stories matters. Each of those stories represents a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a friend or a neighbor.”

Beth Prout Lennon and JoAnne DeCesaris Wellington, co-founders of the DeCesaris/Prout Cancer Foundation, an organization which provides financial support to the CalvertHealth Cancer Center, encouraged others to join them in making a financial contribution to the cause. Both Lennon and Wellington have lost a parent to cancer and started the foundation to provide funding for cancer awareness and treatment options close to home. Wellington said, “The stakes of cancer are high – and they are only getting higher. It will take an extraordinary effort to begin to turn the tables on cancer and that is why we are here tonight. To be part of the solution.”

Since it began 34 years ago, the annual black-tie charity event has been one of the most prominent fundraisers for the hospital and has helped fund new medical technology, equipment and initiatives at CalvertHealth Medical Center. While the 2022 Gala was the last, the need for community support is ever present. If you are interested in making an end of year gift to the CalvertHealth Foundation, visit their website at www.calverthealthfoundation.org/season-of-giving or call 410.414.4570 to speak with a member of the Foundation team.

The CalvertHealth Foundation wants to extend a special thank you to some of the sponsors who helped make the evening a success: DeCesaris/Prout Cancer Foundation, In Memory of Maureen Prout and Geaton A. DeCesaris Jr.; Curtis Investment Group; Associates In Radiation Medicine; Mr. Steve & Mrs. Sunny Keithley; City National Bank; Dickinson Jewelers; Hargrove from encore; L2 Construction Management Corporation; Mr. Dean and Mrs. Pam Teague; Sam Barbieri Webster Group with RE/MAX United; Cheryl & Jimmy Bare Century 21 New Millennium; BuiltRite Home Developers, Inc.; Mr. Vic and Mrs. Julie Cornellier; Mr. Steve and Mrs. Lisa Garner, Garner Exteriors; Ms. Marianne Harms; Pathway Investment Group; Power Solutions; Rod 'N' Reel Resort; Idea Solutions, Mr. Frank Smith and Mrs. Linda Sinagra-Smith; Wilson & Parlett; Dr. Loyd & Mrs. Terri Wolfley; Adfinitas Health; American Radiology Services; BHE Cove Point LNG; Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant; Calvert Internal Medicine Group; Duke Cancer Network; Mr. Robert Luddy, Captive Aire; Dixie Miller & Jim Ritter; Laura Peruzzi - RE/MAX One & Eddie Logan - Prime Lending; US Acute Care Solutions; Wilmot Sanz Architects; Armstrong, Donohue, Ceppos, Vaughan & Rhoades, CHTD.; CDI; College of Southern Maryland; Dunkirk Vision; Dr. Duncan & Mrs. Mickie Frazer; Lee Funeral Home Calvert; M&T Bank; Medart Gallery & Custom Framing; MedStar Health; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Rice, III; Lusby Center, a division of The Brick Companies; The Concord Advisory Group; Waterside at Solomons Island.

Gala Committee Members from over the years were recognized for their time and effort put into planning the annual gala over the past 34 years. Each member was called to the stage in recognition of the years they devoted to the planning committee. From left to right, Lisa Turley, Kathy Dickinson, Sunny Keithley, Carmen Schrodel, Lisa Garner, Lisa Arnesen, Dana Rose, Wendy Cox, Teresa Schrodel (Co-Chair 2022), Deborah Keir, Pat Jenkins, Cindy Hargrove, Karen O’Brien, Cindy Parlett, Jean Fleming, Pam Teague, Terri Wolfley, Diane Gebicke, Lindsey Thompson, Rachelle Lambourne, Margie Webster, Adrienne Henriquez, Linda Sinagra-Smith (Co-Chair 2022), Kara Harrer, Amber Carroll, Theresa Johnson and Rebecca Burgess.

JoAnn DeCesaris Wellington (left) and Beth Prout Lennon (right) of the DeCesaris/Prout Cancer Foundation (DPCF) took to the stage to share how cancer has impacted their lives; inspiring them to start DPCF.

President and CEO Dean Teague took the stage to share how far CalvertHealth has come and plans for the future of cancer care at CalvertHealth with the new collaboration with Duke Health.
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