2008 Possibilities Luncheon Huge Success!
The Annual Possibilities: Life Beyond Disability Luncheon was held at the Chattanooga Convention Center on February 13 as a fundraiser for Siskin Hospital. The Luncheon benefits the Patient Assistance Fund at Siskin Hospital, which provides funds to those without adequate means to pay for their treatment.
The event, now in its' fifth year, is a unique way for Siskin Hospital to share some of the remarkable stories of courage and success from our former patients, while raising awareness for the many programs offered through physical medicine and rehabilitation to the Chattanooga community.
Cindy Sexton, news anchor for WRCB-TV Channel 3, served as emcee for the event. As media sponsor for the luncheon, WRCB's ST Productions and Cindy Sexton produced an amazing video portraying the life-changing patient stories of Bobby Bean, David Tallent, Neesie Young, and Tim Totherow. These patients have overcome insurmountable odds and truly live life to the fullest beyond their disability.
We are happy to report that this year's luncheon was a record-breaking event in every way! Total attendance increased to 675, almost 300 more than last year, with nearly 50 Crystal and Patron Sponsorship tables. Proceeds from the event more than doubled that over the previous year, and expenses decreased significantly. In all, we were pleased to raise more than $50,000 to help provide much needed care for those patients without insurance who are unable to pay for their care.
The success of the Possibilities Luncheon is largely due to a wonderful group of community volunteers who so graciously gave of their time and support. This year's Steering Committee was co-chaired by Mike and Debbie Brown, who were essential in coordinating the event. The Browns, along with a team of about 20 volunteers, enabled the Hospital to host the most successful Possibilities event ever! We offer our sincere and heartfelt thanks for their invaluable support.
Siskin Hospital would also like to extend our gratitude to Unum, who has been the primary corporate sponsor for the Possibilities Luncheon since its' beginning. Bob Best, Chief Operating Officer for Unum U.S., introduced the speaker, Lee Woodruff, and stated that sponsoring the Possibilities Luncheon is the perfect opportunity for Unum, a strong supporter of life beyond disability.
Honorary Co-Chairs for the event were Joe and Susan Davenport. The Davenports graciously contributed to the new Brain Injury Unity at Siskin Hospital in honor of Joe's daughter, Hollis. Hollis suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age 14, and received physical, occupational, and speech therapy at Siskin Hospital. She worked hard to recover from her injury, and today lives a full life in Colorado, where she works as a teacher and enjoys many outdoor activities. We are so grateful for the Davenport's contribution, which helps us continue to provide incredible opportunities for those suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
Mike Brown, Steering Committee Co-Chair, best sums up this year's event by saying, "It was incredible. The community pulled together during an economically unstable time and donated from their hearts, because they believe in the cause and believe in what Siskin Hospital does for this community."
Lee Woodruff ~ Possibilities Speaker
Lee Woodruff, the keynote speaker, was the inspiration for the theme, "Although Life Can Change In An Instant, It Still Remains Full of Possibilities." Lee and her husband, Bob Woodruff, co-authored a book, In An Instant. The book describes their family's experiences when Bob was severely injured while on assignment for ABC News in Iraq. He suffered a traumatic brain injury when a roadside bomb exploded upon the military convoy he was imbedded with, almost killing him.
Since Bob's injury, Lee Woodruff has been an advocate for helping to raise awareness for brain injury patients, especially those in the armed forces. She and Bob started the Bob Woodruff Family Fund for Traumatic Brain Injuries, which supports wounded military personnel and their families when they return home with a severe brain injury. Lee is also a contributing editor for ABC's Good Morning America, and she has been published in high profile magazines such as Health, Red Book, Country Living, and Family Fun.
Siskin Hospital was honored to have Lee speak at the Possibilities Luncheon. She shared her family's experiences in a way that truly touched everyone in the audience. Her heartfelt speech even inspired some in the audience to speak up about their own struggles with having a brain injury.
Lee discussed the 36 agonizing days that Bob spent in a medically induced coma, only to have him sit up on the 37th day and say, "Where ya been sweetie?" Her recognition that one never knows how a person will react to a brain injury makes Bob's comment to her on the day he woke up a miracle. Lee's husband was fortunate to retain his ability to speak Chinese, recall his travels and interviews as a reporter, and most importantly, recognize and love his family.
Lee said her most important decision came after Bob had regained consciousness, which was where he would go for his rehabilitation care. She expressed her admiration and gratitude to everyone working in the rehabilitation field. Lee noted that it is something you never think about until you need it, and then rehabilitation becomes the most important thing in your life. Lee explained how rehabilitation gave the Woodruff family their lives back. She praised everyone at Siskin Hospital for the inspiring work that is done each day, understanding the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing as well.
While Lee Woodruff has seen first hand how devastating an injury can be, she undoubtedly claims that the human spirit is resilient by saying, "until you go through a life-changing experience, you don't realize how incredible we are. You find out how many people love you and how important faith is."
Lee showed a video of her four children working with their father on his speech skills. Watching the beautiful moments the Woodruff family shared when helping their father to recall certain words again were emotional for many in the audience. The Woodruff children were so excited when Bob correctly pronounced the words "belt buckle." These images captured the struggles the Bob and so many others face after a devastating injury or illness. These same images also fill our hearts with hope, as we see that physical and mental improvements are possible and do happen every day in our lives.
Her compassion and radiance filled the room as she understood and empathized with the impact a devastating injury can have not only on the patient, but on the entire family as well. Lee was able to emotionally connect with everyone in attendance, as her warmth and strength inspired us all.
Lee's sense of humor and genuineness captivated the record-breaking audience of 675 people. She ended by encouraging everyone to go home and hug a loved one, call a friend, read to a child, and remember that," life can change in an instant and the things that matter most are those that you can put your arms around."
|AT&T||Decosimo & Company||Sharon Mills|
Erlanger Health System
|Alexian Village of Tennessee||Gearhiser, Peters, Lockaby, Cavett & Elliott, PLLC||Morgan Keegan trust Company|
|Maxine Alper & Debby Alper/
Margie Bevil & Libby Dyer
|GenTech Construction||Service Electric Group|
|Amelia Allen/ M.J. Levine||Hair Benders Internationale||Siskin Children's Institute|
|Blood Assurance||Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain, PC||Siskin Spine & Rehab Clinic|
|Dr. & Mrs. John Boxell||Lawson Electric Company||SunTrust Bank|
Chattanooga Coca Cola
|Memorial Health Care System||U.S. Xpress|
|City of Chattanooga||Miller & Martin||University of Tennessee at Chattanooga|
Thank you for your support!
|Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association||Hamilton County Department of Education||National MS Society|
|Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce||Henderson, Hutcherson & McCullough||Papercut Interactive|
|Chattanooga State Technical Community College||Hunt Nissan||St. Barnabas Nursing Home|
|Chattem||LaFoy Outdoor Advertising||Tennessee Hospital Association|
|Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga||Media Planning & Placement, LLC||UBS Financial Services|
|David Kirkpatrick, DDS||Molly Maid||WildHare Books|
|Fillauer, Inc.||Motes Advertising|