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Planned Parenthood Fundraiser Features Passionate Supporters, Grateful Clients

Published: 09.26.12| Updated: 09.26.12

TRAVERSE CITY  Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) held its annual Healthy Families Luncheon fundraiser at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City on Tuesday, September 25. Supporters packed the ballroom to hear a line-up of speakers that included PPWNM staff, donors, and clients.

Betsy Dole, summer resident in the Torch Lake area, shared why she is passionate about supporting the work of PPWNM. The Dole Family Foundation funds a grant that provides colposcopy services to women at PPWNM's Traverse City Health Center who need additional screening after an abnormal pap result; testing which is necessary to rule out cancer altogether, or help determine the next steps in treatment if necessary. The Dole grant has funded the colposcopy program for two consecutive years, totaling over $25,000.

"As a family foundation we do not usually donate to health organizations," expressed Dole on behalf of the Foundation, "Our focus is primarily on the environment, but we chose to make these gifts because of our strong belief in the importance of basic health care." 

Traverse City has been the Doles' second home for 45 years, which feeds their commitment to serve this region. "My hope is that everyone here will follow my example and consider how important it is to give as generously as possible to Planned Parenthood," said Dole.

A direct recipient of the Dole Grant, Elise McGowan, poignantly shared her health story at the luncheon.

"I had just moved to Traverse City and didn't have insurance  like many women. I scheduled my annual physical at Planned Parenthood and was surprised to receive word that my pap smear was abnormal," said McGowan, who didn't have any idea how she was going to afford follow up care and was relieved to find out she qualified for the Dole grant, "I'm so glad that I got to meet Betsy today and thank her in person for her gift. Miigwetch Betsy."

McGowan told the crowd she now works for the Little Traverse Bay Band promoting a lifestyle of wellness and sobriety among young people. She attributed her success in that role to her past experience working as a Peer Educator for Planned Parenthood.

PPWNM President/CEO Katherine Humphrey acknowledged Edward C. and Karen C. Walker, and their children Alicia Walker and Bryce Hudley, and Joseph and Jennifer Walker, for their leadership gift to the recently announced Standing Tall special fundraising campaign. The Walker family made a $500,000 gift toward the Standing Tall goal of $3 million.

Humphrey also shared with the audience that the PPWNM health center in Traverse City is to be renamed the Karen Christensen Walker Health Center in honor of the Walkers' gift. Based on the length of the standing ovation in tribute to the Walker family, Planned Parenthood supporters champion the need to ensure that high quality, life saving, cost effective health care exists in this community.

This year's Healthy Families Luncheon was sponsored by Dr. Jena Hullman, DC, owner of Big Beautiful Life Chiropractic and Wellness in downtown Traverse City.

"When women are given more options to create healthy families, the community becomes healthier," said Hullman, "Sponsoring the Healthy Families Luncheon was a natural fit for me."

Those wishing to donate to the Standing Tall campaign should contact the PPWNM development department by phone at (616) 774-7005 or by e-mail at donations@ppwnm.org.

Women in need of sexual health care, including colposcopy, should contact the Planned Parenthood health center in Traverse City at (231) 929-1844.

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Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan provides sexual health care and sexuality education services, with locations in eight Michigan cities. Log on, learn more: ppwnm.org.

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