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Giving back to those who gave

With sunshine and 75 degrees on Wednesday, an area hospital’s senior executives could not have asked for better weather to work in while washing, rinsing and drying the cars of employees.

St. Mary’s Medical Center senior executives had offered a challenge to every department of the hospital – raise the most money for The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and get your cars washed by the president and vice presidents of St. Mary’s Medical Center. The Breast Center raised the most, more than $3,000, by selling T-shirts for breast cancer awareness. The hospital gave more than $25,000 altogether.

Vera Rose, vice president of Oncology Services, said that while the hospital has participated in Relay for Life before and been successful, the challenge was new this year.

“I think it’s a great way to instill some enthusiasm among the different relay teams,” Rose said. “It kind of made it a fun incentive.”

Tim Parnell, of Ironton, vice president of Support Services, Planning and Development, said there are a couple of benefits from this event.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to show appreciation for all those who participated in Relay for Life,” Parnell said. “It’s also a good team-building exercise for us.

“It’s a great administration team we have,” he said. “We work hard, but we also have fun.”

Parnell said that while he claims to be an expert at car washing, he was relieved that the Breast Center only had 14 employees.

“We were pretty happy it was a smaller team that one,” Parnell said jokingly.

LeeAnn Beckett, RN, is part of The Breast Center at St. Mary’s and feels her department is especially connected to the cause.

“It’s very important for us because we work with breast cancer patients all the time,” Beckett said. “It’s important to go and let them celebrate their survival on the night we have the relay.”

Beckett was especially pleased with the incentive that the executives came up with.

“It’s nice that they’ve been creative to give back,” Beckett said. “They could’ve bought pizza, but they came up with this option.”