Philanthropy News from The Miriam
On Monday, October 18, the Brown University Football Team hosted its 17th Annual “Bench Press for Cancer” on the main green of campus. The event, which resumed after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, continues a longstanding tradition of raising thousands of dollars to benefit the Cancer Survivorship Program at The Miriam, which is a principal teaching hospital for Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School.
A first-of-its-kind in Rhode Island, the Cancer Survivorship Program provides long-term evaluation, health education, and emotional support for the unique needs of young adult cancer survivors. It also assigns a dedicated nurse practitioner to work with survivors and help them live the healthiest, fullest lives possible once treatment has completed.
Launched in 2004, “Bench Press for Cancer” was established by the Brown Football Team to help former teammate and team captain Lawrence Rubida and his family pay for the medical bills associated with his battle against Ewing’s Sarcoma. Sadly, Lawrence passed away in 2005, but the team has continued the event to honor his memory.
“I knew Lawrence personally,” says Paul Frisone, director of player development for Brown Football and a facilitator of the annual event. “He was an amazing young man, a great player, and awesome in every way. To keep his spirit alive with this event brings a measure of comfort to all of us here at Brown and beyond—because we all know someone who has been affected by this terrible disease.”
Paul estimates that between 200 and 300 student-athletes, faculty and staff will participate in this year’s event in some capacity and that local families will benefit from the support. “What we’re doing is truly a community-based effort and that’s important to us,” he adds.
Since its inception, “Bench Press for Cancer” has raised more than $100,000 for The Miriam’s renowned cancer program, and donations to this year’s effort will continue to be collected by the Brown Football Team through the end of the semester. An announcement of the total raised is expected in early 2022.
Although unable to be together in person, hundreds of Miriam Hospital friends and supporters took to Lifespan Health’s YouTube channel for a special combination of the hospital’s Annual Meeting and Miriam People Celebration of Tradition in mid-November. From the safety and comfort of their homes, familiar faces were eager to celebrate both the impact of philanthropy and the lasting impact of retiring hospital president Arthur Sampson.
Susan Kaplan, chair of the hospital’s Foundation Board of Trustees, spoke openly about being in the midst of an historic pandemic. It was at The Miriam where Rhode Island’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient was treated.
“There is no question that the past year has been unlike any we’ve ever experienced, yet it was also a year that brought out the best in our hospital staff and in our community.”
Among the many highlights shared by Susan were the more than $330,000 raised during The Miriam Hospital Cares virtual event in July; several transformational gifts in amounts greater than six figures; and highlights of the more than $1 million in allocations, which included support for ground-breaking research, community programs, and staffing the Emergency Department with behavioral nurse navigators – all made possible by philanthropy. It was during unpredictable times that The Miriam’s donor community took its already amazing generosity to even higher heights.
“Philanthropy is the linchpin of The Miriam, and its staff is second-to-none. I think of everyone at The Miriam as heroes, our hospital is their calling,” finished Susan.
Following reports from hospital leadership, the Medical Staff Association and Women’s Association, and the presentation of the Dr. Kathleen C. Hittner Educational Endowed Fund Award, it was time to shine the spotlight on Arthur Sampson.
Humble and always the first to recognize the good work of others, there is no question Arthur’s leadership has helped strengthen The Miriam today and for the future. A tenure that leaves behind a long list of accolades and distinctions that have set apart The Miriam, not only from other hospitals in our region and country, but also in the entire world.
In celebration of The Miriam Hospital’s rich tradition and the special Miriam People whose philanthropy helps to fuel its excellence, more than 100 members of The Miriam People Society attended this year’s Miriam People Dinner.
Held on October 29 at the Providence Marriott and hosted by one of The Miriam’s most deeply committed supporters, Mrs. Gloria Winston, the special evening recognized annual donors of gifts of $1,000 or more, and also those who have given $25,000 or more during their lifetime.
Gloria Winston; Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and CEO, Lifespan; Wafik El-Deiry, MD; Susan H. Kaplan, Chair, The Miriam Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees; Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., Chair, Lifespan Board of Directors and The Miriam Hospital Board of Trustees; and Arthur J. Sampson, President, The Miriam Hospital.
Following an opening reception with warm conversation, Foundation Chair Susan H. Kaplan thanked donors for their incredible generosity, shining a light on what the power of philanthropy helps to make possible. In particular, she pointed to the recent two accolades The Miriam received from U.S. News and World Report, including a first time national ranking for urology services.
“To me, being a Miriam Person goes beyond philanthropy – a Miriam Person is a person of action, a person of honor, and someone who is caring and compassionate,” said Kaplan. “Generation after generation has upheld this tradition, never wavering in their support. Thank you for always being by our side.”
In taking the podium to deliver his leadership update, hospital President Arthur J. Sampson offered a glimpse at what lies ahead for The Miriam. He punctuated his remarks by sharing the hospital’s most recent honor – the Gold Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. It is the highest designation of excellence conferred by this national nursing organization.
The evening’s keynote speaker was Wafik El-Deiry, MD, recruited this past January as the inaugural director of the new Brown-Lifespan Joint Program in Cancer Biology and who leads the cancer biology programs at The Miriam, Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s hospital, and Brown University. He spoke to his model of collaborative research programs, discovery, and clinical trials, which translates to expanded options for Lifespan’s cancer patients and those at risk of cancer.
“All that we achieve for the health and well-being of this community we owe, in large measure, to the generosity of our Miriam People,” concluded Sampson. “And I am deeply grateful to every single one of you.”
From left: : Debbi Gilstein Jaffe; Wafik El-Deiry, MD; Susan Korber, MS, RN, OCN, NE-BC, Vice President, Lifespan Cancer Institute; and Evelyn El-Deiry.
Ted Winston; Jane S. Nelson; and Dr. Timothy J. Babineau at this year’s Miriam People Dinner.
Gloria Winston, the host of the 2019 Miriam People Dinner, warmly greets Arthur Sampson after inviting him to the podium following her remarks.
From left: : Saul Kaplan; Howard Safran, MD; and Nancy Safran.
Margaret and Bert Lederer, with Robert Ducoff, MD, and his wife, Diane, at the 2019 Miriam People Dinner.
From left: : Susan Bazar, Jane Stanford, Grace Dugan, and Jamie Manville.
From left: : Sheri Sweitzer; Howard Leavitt; Helen Anthony; Robert Bahr, MD; and Susan Bahr.
From left: Anita Schatz, Bonnie Ryvicker, and Michael Goldenberg enjoy a moment at the recent Miriam People Dinner.
From left: Cris McBurney; James Myers, MD; and Cathy Lund, DVM.
Not even a severe downpour could dampen the celebratory feel that filled The Miriam’s Sopkin Auditorium when the hospital’s Foundation Board of Trustees hosted its 2019 Annual Meeting on September 26.
During their remarks, hospital president Arthur Sampson and foundation board chair Susan H. Kaplan both thanked donors for their incredibly generous support and shared highlights of the past year. Among them were two prestigious accolades from U.S. News and World Report, including a first-ever national ranking for urology services, and the Gold Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses – the highest designation of excellence conferred by a national nursing organization.
“The rest of the country now understands what we have long known, and that is how The Miriam is a world-class place for care, especially for our reputation in treating cardiac, stroke, cancer, bariatric, and urologic patients,” said Sampson. “And that is due in large part thanks to the commitment of all of you in this room tonight and the compassionate dedication of our caregivers.”
Following Dr. Kathleen C. Hittner, President Emerita of The Miriam, who presented her annual Kathleen C. Hittner, MD, Educational Endowed Fund scholarship award; Susan Kaplan returned to the podium to honor Alan H. Litwin as Person of the Year. The announcement was met with a standing ovation.
Alan’s involvement with The Miriam dates back more than four decades to when he volunteered in the hospital pharmacy. Since then, he has committed himself to the hospital and its patients, devoting his time, leadership, and oversight to help advance critical hospital initiatives. His significant impact includes chairing The Miriam’s Advancing Emergency and Cardiac Care: The Miriam’s Campaign for Excellence, which resulted in a complete renovation of the hospital’s emergency department. Alan is past chair of The Miriam Hospital Board and The Miriam Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, and continues to give of his talent as Chairman of the Lifespan Finance Committee and as Vice Chairman of the Lifespan Board of Directors. The Miriam is forever indebted to Alan for his selfless contributions.
“When Alan says he is going to help, he goes all in. It’s the only way he knows how to do things, and our community – and everyone who knows Alan personally – is better for it,” said Susan. “As someone who always puts others before himself, it is high time to return the favor and shine the brightest of lights on everything you do for The Miriam and for our community.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, guests gathered in The Marie J. Langlois Café for a delicious buffet reception and warm conversation.
From left: Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., Chair, Lifespan Board of Directors and The Miriam Hospital Board of Trustees; Susan H. Kaplan, Chair, The Miriam Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees; Alan H. Litwin, 2019 Miriam Person of the Year; Arthur J. Sampson, President, The Miriam Hospital; and Timothy J. Babineau, President and CEO, Lifespan.
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman delivers the invocation.
Viviane Fornasarao-Donahue and Lisha Andrew with Dr. Kathleen Hittner, President Emerita of The Miriam Hospital.
Miriam staff members, Viviane and Lisha each received a Kathleen C. Hittner, MD Endowed Fund Scholarship Award in support of continuing education.
Susan Kaplan and Alan Litwin, The Miriam Hospital’s 2019 Person of the Year.
The Litwin family; left to right: Alan, Madison, Marianne, and David.
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman; and Nancy and Howard Safran, MD.
Neil Steinberg; and Leslie and Tom Gardner.
James Rosati; Steve Abrams; and Robert Stupell.
Susan Kaplan; Pruta Patel; Bonnie Ryvicker; Saul Kaplan; and Suzanne Gilstein.
Sherry Cohen; Susan Froehlich; and Robin Engle at The Miriam’s 2019 Annual Meeting.
As an overcast sky gave way to a bright October sun on the morning of October 21, members of Brown University’s football team were already hard at work on the main green, kicking-off their annual “Bench Press for Cancer” initiative in support of The Miriam Hospital. Now in its 16th year, the longstanding effort raises funds for the hospital’s Cancer Survivorship Programs.
Beginning at 10:00 a.m. and continuing through the afternoon, the players, their fellow students, Brown faculty, and staff from The Miriam took turns raising the bar – bench pressing either 75 or 165 pounds for as many repetitions as they could. Leading up to the big day, participants asked family and friends to pledge a donation for each rep they accomplished. The goal was to raise as much money as possible to help patients battling cancer.
“Bench Press for Cancer” began in 2004 when the football team established the event to help former teammate and team captain Lawrence Rubida, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma while a student at Brown. Lawrence, sadly, passed away in 2005, but the team has continued the event to honor his memory.
Since its inception, “Bench Press for Cancer” has raised more than $87,000 for The Miriam’s renowned cancer program, including nearly $19,000 in 2018. Donations to this year’s effort will continue to be collected by the Brown football team through the end of the semester, with an announcement of the total raised expected in early 2020.
Members of the Brown University football team were all smiles as they kicked-off their 16th annual “Bench Press for Cancer” fundraiser in support of The Miriam Hospital on October 21.
From left: Dan Gemmell; Jaylen Fisher; Kieran Dowley; Jarred Daul; Alex Hughes; Paul Frisone, Coordinator of Football Operations and Player Development; Nick Allsop; and Dr. Fred J. Schiffman, Medical Director, Lifespan Cancer Institute.
Camille Higel-McGovern and Dr. Fred J. Schiffman proudly display their 2019 “Bench Press for Cancer” shirts shortly after the kick-off of this year’s event. Camille is the nurse practitioner for the Cancer Survivorship Program at The Miriam Hospital.
In a different type of competition between cornerback and wide receiver, Dan Gemmell spots his teammate, defensive back Jaylen Fisher, after the two challenge each other to see who could do the most repetitions.
After his annual turn on the weight bench, Dr. Fred J. Schiffman (second from right) was joined by the players who helped to give him a spot.
From left: Nick Allsop; Cody Young; Dr. Schiffman; and Junior Gafa.
On Saturday, May 11, The Miriam Hospital took more than 450 guests back in time to Rydell High when the hospital transformed the Wheeler School Van Norman Field House for its 2019 gala and auction, Grease is the Word! Inspired by the iconic musical turned film, the signature event raised a total of $702,830.
The funds will benefit The Miriam Fund for a New Generation for hospital programs and improvements with the most crucial and pressing needs. Of the total raised, the event’s auction and fund-a-need generated $316,811 in support of The Miriam’s colorectal cancer program to improve outcomes and quality of life in three crucial areas: navigation, survivorship, and patient assistance.
“Thanks to the generosity of our donor family and the dedication of our medical leaders and our staff, The Miriam is in the vanguard of research, medical treatment, and technology, not only in the region, but in the nation,” said Arthur J. Sampson, president of The Miriam Hospital. “So many give of their time, talent, and treasure not because The Miriam has needs, but because it meets needs.”
Chaired by Samara and Stuart Feldman, the evening event began with a cocktail reception, followed by remarks from hospital leadership. Guests were then introduced to a Miriam patient and oncology nurse who shared her very personal, and very moving journey with cancer.
“As nurses, all of us at The Miriam know how blessed we are to have such compassionate donors in our corner,” said Michelle Moreau. “And as a patient, I experienced firsthand what they make possible for our cancer program – I am just one example of their truly lifesaving support.”
Prior to dinner, professional auctioneer Harry Santa-Olalla presented the evening’s auction and fund-a-need to benefit The Miriam’s colorectal cancer program. Featuring exciting travel excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences, spirited bidding surrounded each package. Among those to generate friendly competition from guests was a weeklong stay in a stunning Martha’s Vineyard home that sleeps 13, which sold for $12,000.
Throughout the night, guests enjoyed the unmistakable ambiance that helped to bring Grease to life. Souvenir photos were available alongside a vintage 1957 Chevrolet, the sounds of an a cappella group filled the air, and actors portraying Danny Zuko, Sandy Olsson, and Vince Fontaine added to the authenticity.
“It was an honor for Samara and me to chair this year’s gala and give back to a hospital that means so much to so many people, including us,” said Stuart Feldman.
Added Samara, “You may not expect to find world class healthcare on a tree-lined street on Providence’s East Side, but that is exactly what we have at The Miriam and as a community, we could not be more fortunate.”
At the conclusion of the evening program, guests took to the dance floor and enjoyed the sounds of Them Apples.
The Miriam Hospital extends its thanks and appreciation to Grease is the Word presenting sponsors Amica Mutual Insurance Co., Brown Physicians, Inc., and University Orthopedics; leadership donor Amica Companies Foundation; and platinum sponsor Amaral Revite General Contractors, and the many others whose generosity made the event possible.
From left: Timothy J. Babineau, MD, president and CEO, Lifespan; Stuart and Samara Feldman, chairs of The Miriam Hospital’s gala and auction, Grease is the Word; Susan H. Kaplan, chair, The Miriam Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees; and Arthur J. Sampson, president, The Miriam Hospital.
Michelle Moreau and Rimini Breakstone, MD at The Miriam’s 2019 gala and auction.
Guests from Rhode Island Medical Imaging show off their custom Letterman sweaters.
With Danny and Sandy center stage, the Rydell High Dance Troup performs Grease Lightning.
Grease is the Word would not be complete without the Pink Ladies and T-Birds.
From left: Marianne Litwin, Rosemary Khosrovani, Alan Litwin, and Mehdi Khosrovani.
Joined by actors who helped to bring the event to life, Steve and Jennifer Larson (second and third from left) and Mark Lucchetti and Cara Conaty (center) enjoy Grease is the Word.
Samara and Stuart Feldman, chairs of Grease is the Word, in the vintage 1957 Chevrolet that greeted guests upon their arrival to the event.
Adding to the night’s authenticity were the sounds of the Rydell High Doo-Wop Singers.
Laura Butterfield, RN, OCN, director of the Lifespan Cancer Institute at The Miriam Hospital, and her husband Raymond Butterfield arrive at ‘Rydell High School’ for Grease is the Word.
On October 18, more than 125 Miriam Hospital donors, friends, and supporters filled the Sopkin Auditorium when the hospital’s Foundation board of trustees hosted its 2018 annual meeting.
In celebrating a stellar year at The Miriam while thanking a donor community whose generosity knows no bounds, hospital president Arthur Sampson highlighted some of the hospital’s most recent accomplishments. Among them, he touched upon achieving a grade “A” from the Leapfrog Group for patient safety for a sixth time; the Total Joint Center being ranked “Best in Rhode Island” for total joint replacement by the national nonprofit CareChex; and the more than $9 million grant awarded by The National Institutes to study antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs.
“We have so much to be proud of at The Miriam – our research, our traditions, our physicians, our extraordinary nurses, and our amazing donors,” said Sampson. “I could not be more grateful to lead a hospital that not only does so much for the health and well-being of our community, but that is also loved by so many.”
Following Edward D. Feldstein delivering The Miriam Hospital Foundation Nominating Committee report, Susan H. Kaplan, chair of the foundation board, recognized Suzanne Gilstein at The Miriam’s Person of the Year.
For more than four decades, The Miriam and its patients have been central to Suzanne Gilstein’s life. She spent 38-years as a devoted Miriam nurse and was instrumental in the creation of the hospital’s Cancer Navigation Program. Suzanne’s gifts of time and talent include serving as past co-president of The Miriam Hospital Women’s Association, chair of The Miriam’s Quality Oversight Committee and as a current trustee of the hospital’s foundation board, among many others. Through her generous philanthropy and leadership volunteerism, Suzanne’s impact on health care in Rhode Island is significant and far reaching.
“From the moment you meet Suzanne, her passion for touching the lives of those who need her most always shines through – it is impossible to overstate her commitment to our community,” said Susan. “For all that Suzanne has done, and continues to do for The Miriam, it is both an honor and a privilege to recognize her as Person of the Year.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, guests gathered in The Marie J. Langlois Café for a buffet reception and warm conversation.
From left: Adam Gilstein, Suzanne Gilstein, Jacob Jaffe, Alan Jaffe, Debbi Gilstein Jaffe, and Jordan Jaffe, DMD.
Susan H. Kaplan (left), chair of The Miriam Hospital foundation board of trustees, and Suzanne Gilstein, the 2018 Miriam Person of the Year.
From left: Marie J. Langlois, Suzanne Gilstein, and Bonnie Ryvicker at The Miriam’s 2018 Annual Meeting.
Donnie Shenk, assistant risk management coordinator, The Miriam Hospital, and Kathleen C. Hittner, MD, president emerita, The Miriam Hospital. At the annual meeting, Donnie was one of two non-clinical Miriam staff members to receive a Kathleen C. Hittner MD Endowed Fund Scholarship Award in support of continuing education.
Tyler Nadeau, executive assistant, The Miriam Hospital, and Kathleen C. Hittner, MD, president emerita, The Miriam Hospital. Tyler is the recipient of a 2018 Kathleen C. Hittner MD Endowed Fund Scholarship Award.