Not only did Heartland Cancer Center patients benefit in a big way at a recent fundraiser, the center’s director also was overwhelmed by a big surprise.
The Central Kansas Medical Center Golf Classic & Auction raised $57,496.92 through its recent golf tournament, and silent and live auctions. CKMC owns the cancer center and all proceeds have been deposited in the HCC Patient Care Fund.
"This is our best result ever," said Mark Mingenback, executive director of the CKMC Foundation. "Everyone who participated should be personally gratified by this great outcome.
"The money is used to help our cancer patients who are uninsured or whose insurance has run out," Mingenback added. "All of us at CKMC appreciate this tremendous community support."
A highlight of the evening came during the live-auction bidding on a U.S. flag encased in a shadowbox frame. Jamie Hutchinson, the HCC director, along with the Heartland Cancer Support Group donated the flag to the auction.
The flag is significant because Hutchinson is not only the HCC director, she is also a Lieutenant Colonel, serving with the 184th Medical Support Squadron from McConnell Air Base. Hutchinson served as the chief nursing officer at the 447th EMEDS at Sather Air Base in Iraq and made arrangements to have this flag flown there and dedicated it to the HCC.
"Jamie has a strong emotional attachment to the flag and how the cancer support group displayed it in the shadowbox frame," Mingenback said. "Her husband, Shawn, knew how much she wanted it and was in on the bidding."
Another bidder, Doris Spray of Great Bend, wasn’t aware of the flag’s history and got the high bid.
"Doris is a strong cancer center supporter and wanted to buy the flag," Mingenback said. "Little did she know she was bidding against Jamie’s husband. Doris won the bid but soon realized Jamie’s attachment to the flag and immediately presented it to her as a gift. It doesn’t get any better than that."
Hutchinson noted that she was "completely shocked when Doris gave it back to me. What an amazingly generous lady."
The message on the plaque with the flag reads:
"This is to certify that this flag, a symbol of the freedom and resolve of the United States of America, was flown over the skies of Sather Air Base, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom on September 11, 2007, in honor of the Heartland Cancer Center Golf Tournament."