Wellmont’s Wine Women & Shoes Raises $155,000, Increases Opportunities For Breast Cancer Screenings

June 7, 2017 | Bristol, Va.

Wine Women & Shoes, an event Wellmont Foundation recently hosted, raised more than $155,000 to increase access to and affordability of breast cancer screenings in the region.

Nearly 1,000 women and men will receive assistance from proceeds from the third annual event at the Virginian Golf Club. The lifesaving mammograms and 3-D breast ultrasounds will be available through the Wellmont Cancer Institute and Project Access to Breast Care. Money will also be available for genetic testing and counseling to help individuals understand their risk of developing breast cancer.

This was the third year Wellmont held Wine Women & Shoes, and the event’s success continues to grow. The foundation raised $33,000 more at the April 29 event than it received from the 2016 gathering.

“We are extremely grateful for the community’s generosity and support for women and men in our region with limited access and ability to pay for lifesaving screenings,” said Sue Lindenbusch, the cancer institute’s senior vice president. “They will be able to receive diagnostic testing to help detect cancers at an earlier stage, when there is a greater chance to win the fight against breast cancer.”

Wine Women & Shoes drew 277 attendees and featured silent and live auctions and exclusive shopping at the event’s marketplace, which was hosted by nine vendors of women’s clothing and accessories. The foundation received 20 percent of these sales.

To highlight the special nature of this event, keynote speaker Donna Ferguson, a two-time breast cancer survivor and cancer institute patient, shared her valiant journey to recovery from a fourth diagnosis of cancer. Plus, breast cancer survivors Lysa Craig, Sharon Ernest, Pat Faber, Midge Merrill, Miranda Mingle, Trish Reid, Lynda Staton, Connie Tester, Heather Tranbarger, Sky Vandyke, Janet Yates and Amy Williams served as models for the fashion show.

Another special feature of Wine Women & Shoes was the participation of community leaders who assisted women with wine pairings and raffle ticket sales by serving as Shoe Guys. Members of the community could donate money to the cause in honor of their favorite Shoe Guy, with the man receiving the most funds being named the King of Sole.

The winner was Steve Smith, Food City’s CEO, who raised $5,895. A close second was James Bunn, who raised $4,375. Together these community servants raised more than $23,000 for this cause.

Raffle drawings included the Wall of Wine for a top-dollar bottle of wine and Key to the Closet for contents of a closet filled with beautiful fashion items. The event also provided an opportunity for women to participate in a Best in Shoes contest in the categories of sassy stilettos, fabulous flats, wonderful wedges and bodacious boots. Attendees were photographed for a souvenir VIPSEEN cover photo.

The presenting sponsor for Wine Women & Shoes was Epic. Gold stiletto sponsors were Baker Construction, Bank of Tennessee, Bill Gatton Automotive, BurWil Construction, Delta Dental, Impact Advisors, Kil’in Time, The Pinnacle, VIPSEEN and WCYB.

Serving as emcee was Julie Newman, a WCYB news anchor.

“This was another exceptional event because of the commitment from the community, all our sponsors and our Shoe Guys,” said Todd Norris, Wellmont Health System’s senior vice president for system advancement and the foundation’s president. “Their philanthropic heart will have a palpable effect on people’s lives and allow us to enhance the quality of care for our region. We are extremely grateful but not surprised because our region is known for exhibiting a giving and caring spirit.”