Gingham Gala

Celebrates Lancaster’s Grassroots Support

The nostalgic fabric marked the theme of the Lancaster General Health Foundation’s Gingham Gala, whose guests gathered for a community need that can be easily overlooked: the devastating financial impact that a cancer diagnosis may have on individuals and their families.

Since 2013, the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute has elevated the levels of treatment, research and education that a cancer patient may have access to in Central Pennsylvania. Lancaster General Health’s state-of-the-art facility is designed to support the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of its patients.  In the past year, ABBCI doubled the number of annual visits since its opening in July 2013.

LG Health was a founding member of the Penn Cancer Network, and the relationship has elevated cancer care throughout Central Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. Now, since joining Penn Medicine, ABBCI is able to provide local access to medical advances, clinical trials and oncology services typically found only in academic settings, as well as offer valuable input from ABBCI’s own experience.

Thanks to the Cancer Patient Support Fund, that support also includes financial assistance to those in need. Since its inception, the Cancer Patient Support Fund has provided over $131,415 in financial assistance to more than 400 patients. It provides a financial safety net for cancer patients and their families so they can focus on healing rather than the financial stress that may result from the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Held under a tent next to the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute on the Lancaster Health Campus, the gala featured hors d’oeuvres  and a five-course dinner, a collaboration of eight of Lancaster’s most outstanding restaurants and food vendors, all with the charge of creating a menu of foods that inspires healthy living. Honey and raw cocoa accompanied locally sourced cheeses; hors d’oeuvres were made with fresh herbs grown in the Institute’s Healing Garden; Swiss chard and other leafy greens were abundant in the salad and entreé courses. The results were deemed delicious by guests.

The complex menu was conceptually guided by Rebecca Katz’s inspiring cookbook, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen, providing a wellspring of inspiration to the participating chefs and restaurants.  And while the recipes were unique to the restaurants, the concept was consistent with this informative text: “healthy, cancer-warding and treatment palliative foods do not need to be bland, and in fact they can be very exciting, beautifully presented, and created from a time-honored and wide variety of ingredients.”

Dr. Randy Oyer, medical director of the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, shared highlights of the programs and services of the Cancer Institute. He was joined by a patient family’s first-hand affirmations of the Institute’s treatment programs and support, leaving a powerful impression on the attendees.

Prior to and during the Gala, community members and guests were invited to honor or memorialize loved ones by purchasing tribute messages. The personal expressions were displayed on small prayer flags and also were posted on small topiaries, which became takeaways for those who participated, while earlier doubling as the table décor for the evening. Later, the evening sparkled with dancing and conversation.

As attendees left, a gentle rain continued to fall.  But, spirits were high with a great goal accomplished – another year to help fund the Cancer Patient Support Fund and a continued, enhanced awareness of a precious community resource.

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