Sentara in the Community

The Power of Women with a Purpose

When 16 women came together in 1993 to raise awareness and philanthropic funds for breast health programs at Martha Jefferson Hospital, they could not have anticipated what a profound impact their efforts would have nearly three decades later.

The seed that small group planted has blossomed ever since, and is continuing to thrive here at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. Today, The Women’s Committee (TWC) has nearly 300 tenured and active members. In partnership with the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation, the group raises a net average of $200,000 each year, providing funds for a host of hospital programs.

“It’s pretty amazing that the work these women began has carried through for so long and contributed such a significant amount of work and philanthropic support over the years,” says Amy Nolasco, TWC chair. “To be successful, we need the support of our community, and that’s one thing that remains consistent. That makes Charlottesville a pretty special place.”

One of TWC’s first fundraisers was Martha’s Market, an event that brings together hundreds of vendors and shoppers seeking unique treasures and an opportunity to support cancer care and other women’s health initiatives at Sentara Martha Jefferson. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Martha’s Market will take place primarily online, November 13-15, for the first time in the event’s 27-year history. Wells Fargo Bank is generously supporting the event as this year’s presenting sponsor. 

“We’re excited about making this a virtual event,” says Nolasco, who also is chair of Martha’s Market. “While it’s going to be different, we have a lot of support from the community. Buyers can shop from the comfort and safety of their homes or shop in person at participating local merchants. And now that we’ve worked out the logistics of offering the shopping experience online, we can continue to do a mix of in-person and online shopping in years to come.”

Through the tremendous success of Martha’s Market and related annual fundraisers such as the In The Pink Tennis Tournament, TWC has raised more than $6 million over the years. These event proceeds have supported impactful programs like free Breast Health Screening Days, providing free mammograms and health screenings each year for approximately 100 women in our community. TWC also established Marianne’s Room, a special resource room for women diagnosed with cancer, providing wigs, scarves, special “Chemo Caps,” soft postoperative prostheses and camisoles to breast cancer patients after a mastectomy, at no cost to the patient. 

Embracing the philosophy that promoting an overall sense of well-being is an integral part of care and healing, TWC funding also provides services such as massage therapy, yoga, exercise classes and support groups. Their support of blanket warmers and chairs in the Infusion Center keeps patients as comfortable as possible while undergoing often-lengthy treatments. Their 2020 support renewed their funding for these initiatives and provided critical funding to the Caregiver Center, the Mother and Baby Fund, the High-Risk Breast Program, the Cancer Survivorship Program, and the Palliative Care Program.

“As a community cancer center, we are focused on the medical care provided and on the holistic care of each individual,” says Laura Kavanagh, regional oncology director at Sentara Martha Jefferson’s Phillips Cancer Center. “Body image, mental health, community and survivorship are really important to us as a comprehensive cancer program. Services and programs like these inspire patients to seek us out for their care—they know these personalized services can help them through their treatments and support them through survivorship. We’re so grateful for the generosity of our community and The Women’s Committee.”

Crystal Chu, Blue Ridge Cancer Program team coordinator, adds that many of these programs and services have continued, even amidst the coronavirus crisis. The support groups are particularly important, she says, and the Sentara Martha Jefferson team has found creative ways to keep women engaged and supporting one another.

“The efforts of The Women’s Committee really show that our community comes together to offer everything our patients need beyond treatments,” Chu says. “It’s really a full community effort that involves so many volunteers and donors—many of whom have friends and loved ones battling cancer—who share a piece of this journey. We wouldn’t be able to offer this comprehensive program without their support.”

For Nolasco, whose mother was treated for breast cancer at Sentara Martha Jefferson, serving on TWC is personal. It allows her the opportunity to give back to a community that rallied around her loved ones as they battled the illness.

“It’s really rewarding for me to be able to give something back to the community hospital that was super supportive of my mom during her cancer diagnosis and treatment,” says Nolasco. “As a family, I just felt like we were being extremely well cared for while my mom went through her treatments. I never felt like we were a number or that we were just trying to be moved quickly through the process. It’s been wonderful to see how the team at ‘Martha Jeff’ shares that Caring Tradition.”

For more information, or to become a member of The Women’s Committee, please visit mjhfoundation.org or contact the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation Office at 434-654-8258.


Sentara Martha Jefferson Programs and Services Funded from 2019 TWC Community Support

  • Cancer Resource Center/ Marianne’s Room
  • Breast Health Screening Days
  • High-Risk Breast Cancer Program
  • Cancer Survivorship Programs
  • Caregiver Center
  • Palliative Care
  • Cancer Care Center Staff Education
  • Special Care Nursery Bottle Warmers
  • Cancer Center: Patient Massage, Aromatherapy and Patient Special Needs
  • Caring Embrace Yarn

Next Story

Philanthrophy

Philanthropic Priorities to Strengthen Our Margin of Excellence

Since its founding in 1903, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has been providing exceptional care for our community, rising above unforeseen challenges to maintain its world-class status.
Feature

Keep Moving

Joint pain—whether caused by arthritis, natural wear and tear, or injury—can interfere with even the most ordinary pleasures of life: gardening, hiking, playing with grandchildren, volunteering at church or taking family vacations. But patients can find relief at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, a leader in hip, knee and shoulder replacement and resurfacing procedures.
Feature

Learning to Manage Diabetes

A chronic condition that affects many of the body’s organs, diabetes can be challenging to control, requiring regular monitoring and careful control of carbohydrate intake. Although numerous medication options exist to help manage diabetes, finding the right one can take time.
Feature

Seasonal Flu or COVID?

When the COVID-19 pandemic took root in March, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, much like hospitals all across the world, worked tirelessly to understand the new strain of coronavirus and plan for the impact it would have on patients, healthcare workers, the hospital and surrounding communities.
The Best Medicine

Lessons Learned from a Year in the House

OK, 2020. You’ve got some explainin’ to do. Entering this year, I assumed it would be a great one, simply because the number 2020 had a numerical symmetry that connoted terrific things
Physicians Perspective

Testing for Suspected Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the upper airway collapses during sleep and blocks normal airflow. This collapse occurs when the muscles supporting the soft tissue in the throat relax, temporarily constricting the airway (often, bed partners or other family members will notice the stoppages in breathing).
On-Call Advice

Are heartburn and acid indigestion the same thing?

Although both conditions involve discomfort and feature symptoms that tend to overlap, leading many people to use the terms interchangeably, heartburn and acid indigestion occur in distinct areas of the body.
Improve Health Everyday

Coping and Even Thriving During COVID-19

Since arriving in the United States in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic truly has turned our world upside down. Many thousands have lost their lives, while countless others have lost their livelihoods.
Womens Health

Veins Vexing You?

Varicose veins and spider veins—those red, purple and blue lines and webs visible just below the surface of the skin—can be an unsightly nuisance. Or worse.
Clinical Excellence

3D Mammography

If you haven’t heard about three-dimensional (3D) mammography yet, read on! Also known as tomosynthesis, 3D breast imaging is the most up-to-date breast screening technology available to women today.
Improve Health Everyday

Flu Shots Are Even More Important This Year

With the COVID-19 pandemic still among us, and given the medical complexities the disease can produce, getting your flu shot early this year is crucial.
Health Matters

Practice the Basics of Infection Prevention

Infectious diseases spread through a variety of means. Respiratory diseases like COVID-19, influenza (flu) and the common cold spread via droplets of saliva or mucus that contain germs.
La Salud Importa

Adopte las medidas básicas para la prevención de infecciones

Las enfermedades infecciosas se propagan a través de diversos medios. Las enfermedades respiratorias, como la COVID-19, la gripe y el resfriado común, se propagan a través de las gotas de saliva o del moco que contienen gérmenes.
Sentara in the Community

Community Generosity Expands The Caring Tradition

While Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has long embraced the Caring Tradition, the greater Charlottesville community and beyond also has shown enduring, heartfelt compassion for patients and their families through their generous support of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation.
Sentara in the Community

Home-Grown Nurses

A former operating room (OR) nurse, Brenda Hathaway speaks passionately about her nursing career: working alongside surgeons, prepping patients, gathering instruments and learning about human anatomy. These days, she is passionate about boosting the careers of aspiring nurses—especially current or future OR nurses—as well as those who want to advance to the next professional level.
Sentara in the Community

The Power of Women with a Purpose

When 16 women came together in 1993 to raise awareness and philanthropic funds for breast health programs at Martha Jefferson Hospital, they could not have anticipated what a profound impact their efforts would have nearly three decades later.
Philanthrophy

Philanthropic Priorities to Strengthen Our Margin of Excellence

Since its founding in 1903, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has been providing exceptional care for our community, rising above unforeseen challenges to maintain its world-class status.