The Meaning of Care Magazine

Jennie Edmundson Foundation's Spirit of Courage Events Continue to Benefit Patients in Need

Published: Aug. 29, 2023

Past and present Spirit of Courage recipients gathered in July for a heartwarming reunion to celebrate and rekindle their meaningful connections with one another.


A cancer diagnosis can spark plenty of uncertainty when it comes to a person’s physical health. However, sometimes overlooked are the financial questions many people have.

How will I pay for treatment? What will happen to me if I can’t afford it? 

Thanks to the Jennie Edmundson Foundation and 21 years of successful Spirit of Courage events, patients at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital never have to worry about the answers to those questions.

The annual events celebrate four cancer survivors and invite them to share their stories of courage. This year’s Spirit of Courage Award honorees are Rita Epperson, Brent Malskeit, Fran Shorey and Marlene Turner.

Since the first event in 2003, Spirit of Courage has generated over $2 million to support the Foundation’s Spirit of Courage Cancer Center Charitable Patient Care Fund. The funds raised are essential in assisting cancer patients in paying for their medications, treatments, insurance deductibles and other daily expenses such as groceries, rent and transportation to and from medical care. This financial support is crucial for those who need assistance while battling cancer.

“It’s truly inspiring to see the impact that the recipients of the Spirit of Courage Award have had on those battling cancer,” said Tara Slevin, chief philanthropy officer for the hospital and president of the Foundation. “Not only can sharing their personal stories provide a sense of hope, but it can also help to create connections and foster a sense of community.”

Michelle Kaufman, MS, RT (R,T), director of oncology services at the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital Cancer Center, said that of the nearly 400 newly diagnosed cancer patients at Jennie Edmundson in 2022, 75% received assistance totaling more than $90,000 from the Charitable Patient Care Fund. 

“Patients are able to focus on healing rather than the financial burden involved with cancer care,” Kaufman said. “Knowing we have these resources for patients who financially qualify can mean the difference between whether or not a patient receives the care they need and deserve. We’re privileged to have this kind of support for our patients.”

The Charitable Patient Care Fund receives donations from various sources throughout the year. Apart from individual donors, funds are raised through event sponsorships; galas; silent and live auctions; golf tournament foursomes and tee-box and business card sponsorships; and fund-a-need donations.

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