"I'm not going to cure cancer but I do what I can to support the people who will," says Leslie Wierman, former chair of the Winship Advisory Board. It's a sentiment shared by her 68 fellow board members. All have been touched in some way by cancer. Because of that shared experience, says Wierman, "We are a group of people extremely dedicated to Winship and willing to put our time, talent, and resources behind it. Everybody believes Winship is an extraordinary and important place, a place that's been there in our time of need and we want to make sure it's here for everyone else."
The Winship Advisory Board was launched in 2006 in order to coalesce a group of people who were contributing individually to Winship through donations and volunteer work. John H. Kauffman, a community leader, president of Kauffman Tire, and tireless advocate for Winship, became the inaugural chair. During his tenure, Kauffman forged a strong relationship between Winship and the Dunwoody Country Club that resulted in an annual golf tournament fundraiser for Winship. Kauffman, who survived prostate cancer but succumbed to pancreatic cancer, was deeply committed to the Board's mission of increasing community engagement and awareness of Winship. Other past board chairs include Bob Meier and Billy Levine.
Levine was motivated to get involved at Winship by his personal experience as a multiple myeloma patient. When he took on the leadership of the board in 2014, he wanted to bring more focus and structure to the group, so he created committees to concentrate on fundraising, enhancing the patient experience, increasing outreach and community engagement,and boosting Winship's recognition in the greater Atlanta community. “My vision was to energize the board. I'm really proud of the fact that people on the board feel like they're doing something meaningful."
Wierman and her fellow board members continue to focus on extending their impact. "We are all ambassadors in the community. As we move forward, we're trying to spread the message that Winship provides the gold standard of care. The National Cancer Institute has given Winship its highest rating, placing it in the top 1% of cancer care centers in the Nation, signifying Winship's impact on lessening the burden of cancer in Atlanta and throughout Georgia and the Southeast," she says.
John H. Kauffman (inset), Billy Levine, Leslie Wierman