More than $44,000 in proceeds from annual fundraiser to directly benefit Middle Peninsula cancer patients

Gloucester, Va. December 27, 2017 – Together, we are stronger than cancer and earlier this month hundreds of Middle Peninsula residents, business leaders, philanthropists and sponsors came together to prove just that at the 2017 Riverside Tree of Lights Gala, which raised more than $44,000 to benefit cancer patients on the Middle Peninsula.

Riverside Tree of Lights Gala 2017 attendees

“We want to ensure that each and every patient who comes to us with a diagnosis of cancer has access to the highest quality care, right here on the Middle Peninsula. The proceeds from this evening’s event help fund the ongoing program of integrative medicine including pet, music, massage and nutrition therapies,” said Megan Crain, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Administrator and Vice President. “It is wonderful to see such ongoing support from so many people and organizations who are helping fund these programs.”

Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Administrator speaking at 2017 Tree of Lights Gala

Held on Dec. 2 at the Abingdon Ruritan Club, the 7th Annual Riverside Tree of Lights Gala proceeds eclipsed 2016 totals, with generous donations collected throughout the evening from guests who enjoyed a full dinner served by Olivia’s in the Village and live music provided by The Michael Clark Band featuring Tracy Clark.

Live musical entertainment at Riverside's 2017 Tree of Lights Gala

"Gifts from our community help us to care for our patients just like we would our own family,” said Lori Gillespie, M.D., radiation oncologist at the Riverside Middle Peninsula Cancer Care Center, located on the campus of Walter Reed Hospital. “The little things like pet therapy can make such a difference."

Donations collected benefit the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Make a Difference Fund, specifically earmarked to support cancer patients on the Middle Peninsula access therapeutic and support services not always covered by insurance, including massage therapy, nutrition counseling, music therapy and more.

“I don’t want anyone to ever think twice about where to go for cancer care,” said Biral Amin, M.D., MBA, Riverside Health System’s oncology service line chief. “I want this to be the first place one thinks of.”

In 2015 alone on the Middle Peninsula, the state reported 404 new cases of cancer. That same year, Riverside treated 317 new cases of cancer, or over 78 percent of patients diagnosed in that year. The average cost of a dinner for two could pay for massage and music therapy for one cancer patient, both of which have been proven to decrease pain and stress associated with cancer treatment.

Over the last six years Riverside has hosted the Tree of Lights Gala, proceeds from the event have supported funding new family care facilities, a healing garden for cancer patients and helping cover transportation and medication costs for those who cannot afford it.

Sponsors played key role in Riverside's 2017 Tree of Lights Gala

Sponsors played a key contributing role making the 2017 Tree of Lights Gala a success, including Spain Commercial, Inc. as the Presenting Sponsor; Ameritone, Callison RTKL and Leah Wallace Associates as Emerald Sponsors; and Chesapeake Bank, DPR Construction, Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, Masters Mechanical Corporation, Phillips Energy, Rappahannock Concrete Corporation and York River Flooring as Gold Sponsors.

The Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Make a Difference Fund remains open for donations.

To learn more about how your donation makes a difference, visit


Published: December 27, 2017