Olympic Medical Cancer Center breaks record with money raised

Awards were also announced at the 19th annual Harvest of Hope

PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Medical Center Foundation raised a record $163,000 at its 19th annual Harvest of Hope hybrid event presented by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance on Saturday night, according to the foundation’s executive director.

The funds will go toward services and equipment for the Olympic Medical Center’s Cancer Center in Sequim.

In addition to monies being raised for a new linear accelerator for radiation treatment, attendees at the event at Guy Cole Events Center in Sequim also contributed $30,000 to fund the Cancer Center’s Patient Navigator program, which provides basic living expenses for low-income cancer patients, said Bruce Skinner, foundation director, in a press release.

The foundation also presented the Rick Kaps Award to Jack and Terri Harmon, longtime community, foundation and OMC Cancer Center donors.

The Kaps Award — named for the former Sequim High School basketball coach and educator who passed away from cancer in 1998 — is presented annually to an organization or individual who has contributed to cancer and overall health care on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Dana Lawson was the event’s cancer survivor speaker. An amputee, cancer survivor and a victim of domestic abuse, Lawson has overcome myriad challenges while refusing to allow them to define her, Skinner said.

She is the founder and executive director of Nature’s Academy, a nonprofit STEM and nature education organization, and also is the founder and CEO of The Lawson Alliance, SPC.

After a career in marine science, she encountered a major stumbling block in 1999 when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer, which caused tumors to grow in her right leg. It eventually led to her leg being amputated.

“She is an extraordinary example of what you can accomplish once you set your mind to it,” Skinner said.

“One of her most recent goals is that she finished the 26.2-mile North Olympic Discovery Marathon last June.”

Held as a hybrid event, Harvest of Hope had a combination in-person and virtual audience, the latter of which called in to bid on live auction items. Both groups bid online for silent auction items.

The linear accelerator that the foundation is helping to fund will be used for radiation treatment for the Cancer Center.

In 2011, the Cancer Center installed equipment that was the first of its kind in the state, and only the fourth install in the country.

Because of an increase in patient volume, it was necessary to purchase the new equipment, which will complement the original linear accelerator with enhanced technology and software.

The foundation has contributed more than $2.5 million for the Cancer Center.

“OMC and the foundation is thankful for all of the support that it has received from hundreds of donors who have contributed towards this effort,” said Karen Rogers, foundation executive committee member and event chair.

“We also really want to thank our sponsors. Because of their support, every penny raised at Harvest of Hope goes toward the treatment of cancer,” Rogers said.

Those who are interested in more information or in making a donation to benefit local health care can call the OMC Foundation office at 360-417-7144, or email [email protected]

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