CELEBRATING LIFE: Evening of Hope benefits cancer patients in Florence

September 28, 2018

Cailin Penny Foxworth performs "Naught" from the Broadway musical "Mathilda." She dedicated the songs to her grandmother Penny Foxworth and friend Robby Ott.

FLORENCE, S.C. – The McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research celebrated life and reflected on cancer survivor’s stories during the 2018 Evening of Hope on Thursday evening.

“It’s a celebration of hope and life,” said Judy Bibbo, vice president of cancer services at McLeod.

The 19th annual cancer benefit, held at Florence Little Theatre, raised money for the Helping Oncology Patients Everyday (HOPE) fund through a silent auction, tickets to the event and sponsorships.

During the concert, local musician and an actor performed pieces dedicated to cancer survivors in the community.

One musician, Thomas Spittle, performed with a brass quintet called Pentamerous Shade. Spittle is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“It’s very humbling,” Spittle said. “It’s just amazing to be able to give back a little bit of what everyone put forward for myself and others.”

Pentamerous Shade performed “It is Well” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

In addition to musical performances, Dustin Moree performed a comedy skit titled “A Lesson in Punctuation” in memory of his grandfather, Ronnie Gainey.

Between the performances, videos of cancer survivors who received treatment with McLeod played. At the end of each video, the survivor stood up to be recognized. Eleven cancer survivors in total were recognized.

Before the concert, the silent auction was begun. Local businesses and community members donated items, such as pieces of art, gift baskets, jewelry and tickets to local events. At the end of the performances, the silent auction continued during a coffee and dessert reception.

The HOPE fund provides assistance to cancer patients beyond just the medical care, such as transportation to treatments, financial assistance and meals.

HOPE fund creator Robin Aiken said she gets emotional during the cancer benefit because she thinks of her sister, who had pancreatic cancer.

“I don’t like to ask a lot of details about tonight,” Aiken said. “I like to sort of experience everything for the first time like everybody else.”

Aiken said she created the fund as a way to help cancer patients in the same way hospitals helped her sister.

Bibbo said work in oncology and the HOPE fund’s service are special to the patients.

“It’s a passion,” Bibbo said. “You develop such a relationship with those families. It’s very unique from that standpoint.”

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