Foundation Donor Stories

Helen S. Carlos Comprehensive Oncology Education Fund

Helen S. Carlos Comprehensive Oncology Education Fund

Atlanta, Ga. (March 1, 2017) – Mrs. Helen S. Carlos, native of Atlanta, Piedmont baby, and devoted wife and mother, has a long history of civic engagement and community service. After raising her two children, Helen became involved with several nonprofit organizations across Georgia, including Visiting Nurse Health System (VNHS), Hospice Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta, Children’s Healthcare, the Marcus Autism Center, the Ronald McDonald House, Open Hand, Cobb Energy Center, Devereux Georgia Camp, and Sunshine On a Ranney Day. She’s also served on the Hospice Board of Directors for six years, and is currently a member of The Advisory Board.

In 2015, Helen wanted to further her community involvement, however her focus shifted toward her health: she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her Gynecologist, Dr. Richard Taylor M.D., OBGYN-F.A.C.O. G, recommended that she consult with Dr. William Barber M.D., F.A.C.S, who reviewed her case and made the final determination that led to her diagnosis. "As scared as I was, I had the best and most caring group of physicians I could have ever dreamed of. The teams of Dr. Bill Barber, Dr. Joseph Woods, Dr. Perry Ballard, Dr. Adam Nowlan, The Piedmont Wellness Center and The Waters Pavilion made what was a very difficult time in my life much calmer and easier.” 

With all the kindness and amazing care, she received, she wanted to give back to Piedmont and the support staff and physicians that played an instrumental role in educating her about the importance of breast health. She wanted the same level of care and passion that she received through education to be provided to every patient.  Helen generously decided to establish a fund to support Piedmont Atlanta’s Comprehensive Oncology Education Programs, specifically for women with breast cancer.

Piedmont Oncology is a Certified Member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, and is itself a broad-based program seeing about 3,500 new cancer patients each year covering all modalities. The Atlanta campus is the center of tertiary care and sees the majority of patients across the 8-hospital Piedmont Healthcare system. The mission of Piedmont Healthcare is to provide superior patient-centered care and to have a positive impact on every life we touch, while ensuring patients receive the respect and dignity they deserve through their treatments. A critical component in carrying out this important work is to fully inform and educate clinical staff about cutting edge advancements in cancer treatments, research, clinical approaches, and much more. The education program designed herein will enhance the majority of disciplines that support each oncology patient treated at Piedmont. To maximize Piedmont’s continuing education requirements, the hospital typically budgets a significant amount each year to fully enrich and enable oncology education for clinical and support staff, however this fund is designed to supplement the funding provided by Piedmont, and in some cases, employee contributions. 

In addition to Helen’s magnificent work and generosity to the Atlanta community, she generously donates her time as a volunteer on the planning committee for Piedmont’s annual Angels on Earth event, in which all proceeds go toward comprehensive cancer funds for Piedmont Atlanta. As a not-for-profit organization, Piedmont relies on the generosity of our donors in order to offer many programs and services to the community. 


Can’t Never Could

Can’t Never Could

Atlanta, Ga. (March 1, 2017) –Rob Estes and his wife, Christi, established a nonprofit foundation, Can’t Never Could Inc., dedicated to helping people who are facing adversity and personal cancer journeys. Through their annual fundraising dinner and other generous donations, the organization has helped cancer patients and their families, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, children with learning differences, and more. Through personal experience, Mr. Estes has found Cancer Wellness programs to be deeply beneficial while undergoing treatment, and has found oncological massage to be most impactful to his own personal cancer journey. To ensure that this benefit continues to have a positive impact on the community, the Estes family and Can’t Never Could, Inc. have made a generous contribution in support of Cancer Wellness and oncological massage. In recognition of this generosity to Piedmont Newnan and the community, the massage suite at Piedmont Newnan’s Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center has been named in their honor.

Russell Gifts Help Support Piedmont Mountainside Hospital

Russell Gifts Help Support Piedmont Mountainside Hospital

Jasper, Ga. (March 1, 2017) –Mr. Don Russell, founder of the Community Thrift Store, & the Pickens County Community Resource Association, has made gifts totaling $45,000 in support of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Jasper, GA. His support to date has included funding for both the Parks Flo-Lab, a noninvasive vascular system with high sensitivity to provide accurate and swift diagnoses in those with chest pain and cardiovascular treatment; and the Zeiss electron microscope, a tremendous tool to increase safety and ease of breast cancer surgery, as well as other types of surgeries.

In gratitude of this outstanding support and generosity, Piedmont Mountainside has named its Chest Pain Center in honor of Mr. Russell. At a surprise ceremony for Mr. Russell, arranged by his wife, Mary, he was quoted as saying, “God brought Mary and I here 20 years ago, and He had some ideas. I have been able to hang around and see them completed.” Russel credited the 200 volunteers for the Thrift Store’s continued success and ability to serve the community through giving. A plaque in honor of Mr. Russell has been installed in the Chest Pain Center.



Grateful Patient Establishes Fund to Support Living Organ Donation

Atlanta, Ga. (May 18, 2017) – At 58 years old, Ben Raney has had two kidney transplants resulting from an autoimmune condition he’s battled for years. He knows first-hand the power of living organ donation, having received a kidney from a complete stranger as part of a paired exchange at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

The paired exchange began with an altruistic donor from Texas stepping forward to donate a kidney to someone in New Jersey. That person’s paired donor, also in New Jersey, then donated a kidney, which was sent to Ben in Atlanta. Not long thereafter, Ben’s wife Lisa donated her kidney to another patient at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

“I did it to help my husband and ended up helping another family in the process,” Lisa Raney, whose recipient had a paired donor that went on to give a kidney to someone in Pennsylvania, said. The paired exchange came to an end when the Pennsylvania recipient’s paired donor gave a kidney back to the hospital in Texas where the altruistic donor started it all. In all, five people received a lifesaving kidney transplant because of the paired exchange.

“Living donors and paired exchangesmake it possible for us to create a larger pool of good quality donors,” said Miguel Tan, M.D., surgical director of the kidney transplant program at Piedmont. “Living kidney donation has, and will continue to, improve outcomes and access to transplantation by decreasing wait times, improving long-term outcomes and lowering the number of people on the deceased donor waiting list.”

While the importance of living donation is established, estimates show only one-third of potential living donors and their intended recipients are compatible. A large number of patients have medically suitable and willing donors but cannot receive the organ donation due to incompatibilities like blood type and antibodies. That is where living organ donor coordinators, who manage everything from evaluation to matching donors and recipients, come in.

“Lisa’s kidney donation helped save the lives of five people and now, with the couples’ continued generosity, we’re able to better support the living donor coordinators who make paired exchanges possible,” Christopher Fowler, executive director of Piedmont Transplant Institute, said. “We are incredibly grateful for Ben and Lisa Raney, and we thank them for their support of Piedmont’s living organ donor program.”

The funds the couple has donated to Piedmont Healthcare Foundation will establish the Ben and Lisa Raney Living Donor Fund. As a not-for-profit organization, Piedmont relies on the generosity of others like Ben and Lisa Raney in order to offer many programs and advanced medical technology to the community. To support the program, visit https://donate.piedmont.org and select the Ben and Lisa Raney Living Donor Fund from the menu of options.

To read more about Ben and Lisa's journey, please read "The Most Wonderful Gift".


Mr. and Mrs. Brett M. Samsky – Samsky Advanced Heart Failure Center

Mr. and Mrs. Brett M. SamskyCredigy CEO Brett Samsky and his wife Louise have donated $4 million to Piedmont Heart in support of an expansion of its advanced heart failure services.

The funds will be used to renovate the existing heart failure center and make services more accessible to patients. Currently, heart failure patients walk one mile across Piedmont Atlanta Hospital grounds to get from appointment to appointment for various necessary tests and exams. With the multidisciplinary team of heart failure specialists housed in one place at the new Samsky Advanced Heart Failure Center, patients will be able to say goodbye to the route they've dubbed the 'blue mile,' by now having all services and appointment destinations within 100 steps.


A Community Effort: Funding Vascular Technology at Piedmont Mountainside

A Community Effort: Funding Vascular Technology at Piedmont MountainsidePiedmont Mountainside Hospital is in the process of funding new advanced vascular diagnostic technology to accurately show the flow of blood through arteries. The technology, called Parks Flo-Lab, can be used to determine the cause of chronic high blood pressure, providing better diagnoses and patient care.

The Piedmont Mountainside Auxiliary is raising money for the campaign and has received a matching grant of $20,000 from the Pickens County Community Resource Association (PCCRA).


Larry C. Orr Family Brain Tumor Resource Center

Larry C. Orr Family Brain Tumor Resource CenterUnderstanding the importance of a brain tumor navigator position and the benefit such a person can bring, Betsy and Larry Orr have established a fund with an initial gift of $225,000 to support patients.

The fund supports the salary and benefits of a brain tumor navigator at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and provides training and educational opportunities for the navigator. This gift also contributed to brain tumor program development and helped construct a brain tumor resource center for patients and their loved ones.


It's The Journey Provides Four Breast Cancer Grants

Piedmont Cancer has received incredible support from It's The Journey, Inc., producers of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. It's The Journey provides grants annually for Georgia programs that focus on breast cancer screening, early detection, genetic counseling, and wellness. This year Piedmont received more grants than any other organization in Georgia.

"We are thankful to It's The Journey for helping us continue on our mission to promote prevention and education while providing greater care for breast cancer patients in Georgia," said John Goodman, executive director of oncology services for Piedmont Healthcare. "The programs funded by It's The Journey help us identify women who are at-risk for breast cancer and provide greater support to those who have already begun their fight. It is our hope that these programs bring us one step closer to reducing the impact of breast cancer in our communities."


Mason Trust Expands Technology for Transplant Services

Piedmont's transplant patients will benefit from improved safety, access and quality. Thanks in part to generous funding in the amount of $750,000 by the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust, Piedmont's electronic health record (EHR) system, Epic, is expanding to transplant services.

Epic was first implemented in 2013, supporting functions related to patient care, including registration and scheduling; clinical systems providers; systems for lab technicians, pharmacists, and radiologists; and billing systems for insurers and patients. Most importantly, Epic enables the patient to see the same chart the doctor uses to make appointments, view test results and monitor overall well-being.

Epic improves the patients' access to care because they have one medical record across the Piedmont system as well as at non-Piedmont hospitals and doctor's offices that are using Epic. Now, transplant patients will also benefit from Epic's Phoenix Module, which is customized for serving transplant populations.


Grass Family Foundation – Donor Milk Program

Premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at two Piedmont hospitals will have increased access to breast milk products, thanks to a $300,000 donation from the Grass Family Foundation.

The donor milk programs at Piedmont Atlanta and Piedmont Fayette hospitals ensure that donated breast milk is available to NICU babies if their mother is unable to produce her own milk. Research shows that when compared to formula-fed preemies, premature infants who are fed breast milk have a lower mortality rate, a shorter length of stay in the hospital and often have improved neurologic and developmental outcomes.

"By providing donor milk containing a precise amount of calories and protein to our NICU babies, we are helping to ensure appropriate growth," Scott Johnson, M.D., director of neonatal services at Piedmont Atlanta, said. "The donation process is easy and convenient. Moms can donate without leaving their homes and the family doesn't incur any out-of-pocket expenses."

The Grass Family Foundation grant will be used to formulate and pasteurize donor milk using rigorous safety and quality testing procedures. The milk supply program is run in partnership with Prolacta Bioscience to maintain a safe, standardized and steady supply of pasteurized donor breast milk.


Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Kane - UroNav Biopsy $125,000

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Kane have donated $125,000 to Piedmont Cancer Center to substantially outfit a room that houses the first UroNav Fusion Biopsy System in Georgia. This powerful technology will clearly identity Piedmont as the community leader in critical oncology services.

The UroNav is a major technological advancement in detecting prostate cancer. This innovative technology uses electromagnetic tracking, and fuses MRI imaging and ultrasound images to pinpoint tiny lesions in the prostate. The precision of the UroNav eliminates the need for multiple random biopsies in diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and helps detect aggressive tumors that may have otherwise been missed, leading to early detection and better overall health.

Mr. Kane has been a member of Piedmont Healthcare Foundation Board for over 10 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Leebern, Jr. (Suzanne) - Samsky Advanced Heart Failure Center $100,000

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Leebern, Jr. have donated $100,000 to expand the Patient Navigation Program within the Samksy Advanced Heart Failure Center.

The funds will enable Piedmont Heart Institute to expand patient navigation and outreach efforts, which improve patient outcomes using integrated care tailored to the patient and guided by the navigator. This generous donation will be recognized as the Leeborn Navigation Suites within the newly renovated, one-of –a-kind center opening in the fall of 2016.

The Samsky Advanced Heart Failure Center is a multidisciplinary, comprehensive advanced heart failure center in Atlanta that will be viewed as a leader in the Southeast. This center of excellence will provide patients with an accessible point of entry for coordinated, best practice services under one seamless shared-care model, while educating and training clinicians on diagnosis and the latest treatment. One of the cornerstones of the center is patient navigation to improve access to care.

The intent of the center is to transform the way patients enter the healthcare system, are diagnosed, educated and treated. Such a center fosters continuity of care through the coordinated return of patients to their local community.

Brave Beginnings at Piedmont Fayette’s NICU

Piedmont Fayette’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has received a $25,000 grant from the Will Rogers Institute’s Brave Beginnings program. The funds will be used to purchase a Radiant Warmer and Vein Viewer to support premature babies in the NICU.

Piedmont Fayette provides 24-hour high level care to premature and medically fragile babies in a peaceful environment. Every day, each baby is evaluated by a neonatologist and cared for by a specialized nursing team.

Over the last 8 years, the advances in medical technology for premature babies have greatly increased the rates of successful patient outcomes and improved the quality of life for countless families. By adding to and upgrading medical equipment, Piedmont Fayette will have state of the art technology available to Fayette county and the surrounding community.

Clothes Less Traveled

In 2014, Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette received a grant of $30,000 from Clothes Less Traveled Thrift Shop, Inc. The grant provides general operating support for Cancer Wellness programs and services, which are offered free to anyone affected by cancer at any phase in his or her cancer journey, regardless of whether or not they are a Piedmont patient.

"We are honored by the decision to award Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Fayette this generous grant," said Michael Burnett, chief executive officer at Piedmont Fayette. "Clothes Less Traveled Thrift Shop continuously gives back to our community and we sincerely appreciate being among the non-profit entities that are supported by Clothes Less Traveled."