Fundraising prints for sale at Pine Crossings Gallery
SPRUCE PINE – A man entered an Asheville waiting room late for his cancer treatment because he did not have transportation. That occurrence more than 20 years ago has changed the lives of thousands of cancer patients in Western North Carolina.
In 1998, Cancer Care of WNC, PA initiated a fund specifically to assist patients in need. The Williamson Fund, named in honor of a patient, was established with the purpose of helping patients with limited financial resources. Over the years, the fund has helped people with transportation, food, clothing, heating, rent and other services.
Cancer Care of WNC, PA later added another element to the Williamson fund titled “LoveLights,” established as a fundraising mechanism for the program.
“Our mission is providing limited financial assistance to those experiencing economic hardships due to a diagnosis of a blood disorder or cancer,” said Dr. Michael Messino, an oncologist with Mission Health who spearheaded the creation of Cancer Care of WNC. “A diagnosis of a blood disorder or cancer can be devastating financially. Our goal is to help ease the financial strain of our patients through the gift of LoveLights. We hope that this gift will help to make the journey easier and will help ease some of the financial burdens.”
Messino was at Pine Crossings Gallery in Spruce Pine Saturday, Aug. 18, to deliver limited-edition prints titled “North Carolina Lighthouses” that are being sold at the gallery as a fundraiser for Cancer Care of WNC.
“We help people with anything except medications,” Messino said. “We have paid mortgages, bought heating oil and even put tires on a patient’s car. Our assistance is available to any patient receiving chemotherapy treatment through Mission hospitals.”
Selling the limited-edition prints stems from Cancer Care of WNC’ struggle to raise money over the past few years, Messino said. Cancer Care of WNC recently obtained 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
The group’s involvement with Pine Crossings Gallery is the result of its owner, Linda Vesely. Linda’s late husband, Al, received cancer treatment from Dr. Charles Bryan at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital.
“Linda was our first major donor,” Messino said.
Visit Pine Crossings at 14842 Highway 226 South in Spruce Pine or call 828-765-8400 for more information about the fundraiser.