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Bringing Legacies Forward to Fund Medical Advances

Northern Hospital Foundation Raises $120,000 for 3-D Mammography

When obstetrician/gynecologist Tom Vaughn, Jr., MD, opened his medical practice in Mount Airy nearly 40 years ago, little did he know that his pioneering efforts and strong advocacy for women’s health issues would be formally recognized posthumously by his family, friends and countless former patients – each of whom made a generous contribution in his honor to the Northern Hospital Foundation.

After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy [West Point], the newly-commissioned Lieutenant Vaughn distinguished himself in combat in the late-1960s as a Ranger and Green Beret in the 5th Special Forces Group, and as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Returning to civilian life, he earned his master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia; and then pursued his love of medicine at the University of Virginia, earning his Medical Degree in 1975. “With those two degrees, everyone thought he would deliver the first baby on the moon!” jokes Ann Vaughn, Ed.D., his devoted wife of 47 years and the catalyst behind the $60,000 donated recently in his honor – all of which would be used to help bring 3-D mammography to Northern Hospital.

Today, 3-D mammography is the most sophisticated imaging technology available to detect breast cancer; and the recent introduction of 3-D mammography to Northern Hospital’s arsenal of advanced diagnostic options positioned Northern as the first community hospital in Surry County to offer such sophisticated technology to patients. For Ann Vaughn, it represented the very essence of what had been her husband’s approach to preventive medicine and technological progress. “My husband was the first in Mount Airy to add a dedicated Mammography Clinic to his practice for the convenience of his patients – and that was back in the late-80’s and early-90’s,” said Ann. “Tom readily embraced the latest and most advanced technology that would improve women’s health, so it was a natural fit for me to want to help raise funds to bring 3-D mammography to Northern Hospital in honor of Tom’s memory,” she added.

The Foundation

Northern Hospital of Surry County maintains its ability to offer high-quality care by acquiring new technologies and/or upgrading equipment or systems that will improve clinical outcomes and enhance the patient-care experience. Given the extraordinary expense of remaining on the cutting-edge of medical advances, most hospitals, including Northern, rely on multiple fundraising initiatives to supplement their annual operating budgets.

Northern Hospital Foundation has served as the fundraising arm of the Hospital for the past 34 years. Three years ago, the Hospital breathed new life into the Foundation’s relatively dormant operations by recruiting Matt Linville, a proven fundraising expert and former commercial real-estate and tax-investment advisor, to renew its efforts. Born 45 years ago in Northern Hospital, the Surry County native applied his visionary leadership and finely-honed professional skills to jumpstart the Foundation’s activities. “It’s really awesome that Northern Hospital is where I began my life … and where I am now,” says Linville, whose high energy, infectious enthusiasm and unbridled support of Northern Hospital bolster his abilities to generate additional revenue for the Hospital.

“The monies raised through the Foundation – which come in the form of grants or donations from generous individuals or corporations – help to accelerate the Hospital’s timeline for purchasing necessary equipment, upgrades, supplies or systems,” explains Linville. “The Foundation’s primary objective is to help the Hospital continue to provide access to cutting-edge care … as quickly as possible.”

Since Linville joined the Northern team, the Foundation has raised more than $800,000 through grants and various capital campaigns designed to support critical Hospital initiatives -- including much-needed renovations to the Medical/Surgical patient rooms; additions to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program; and, most recently, the acquisition of 3-D mammography as part of the “For Her” campaign.

“For Her” Campaign

Launched in September of 2017, the goal of the appropriately-named “For Her” campaign was to raise $120,000 for the implementation of 3-D mammography at Northern Hospital. “Through the extraordinary generosity of many donors – including community and business leaders, grateful patients, and friends of Northern Hospital – we reached our goal in less than four months,” said Linville. “In addition, as part of the Foundation’s commitment to the campaign, it matched each contribution dollar-for-dollar – which brought the total contributions to $240,000.”

Due to the early positive response to the campaign, the Hospital was able to make arrangements in February of this year to purchase and install the necessary software/hardware upgrades to make 3-D mammography available to patients who would benefit from its enhanced imaging of breast tissue. “At the present time, some 42% of all eligible patients now choose 3-D mammography rather than the traditional 2-D imaging,” notes Linville.

Motivated Donors

Like Ann Vaughn, who facilitated contributions to the “For Her” campaign to honor her husband’s well-known legacy, there are as many reasons to donate as there are donors. “We appreciate that people are motivated for different reasons when they choose to support the healing work of our Hospital and affiliated clinics, our physicians and nurses, and/or our life-saving and life-enhancing programs and services,” said Matt Linville.

Indeed, many individuals – like Tammy and Jim York, owners of Petroleum Transport Company, Inc. (PTC), based in Pilot Mountain -- take a big-picture view of the help their contributions can make. Last fall, when the business executives met with Linville and the then-CEO of Northern Hospital, they already understood that advanced mammography would help with the early detection of breast cancer. “We concluded that the project was a good use of funds and would benefit many who live in Surry County,” said Tammy York, who serves as Vice President of PTC. “We wanted to help make 3-D mammography a reality for all citizens in our County and were happy to contribute to the Northern Hospital Foundation. We appreciate Matt and his team for their vision and leadership in making 3-D the new standard of care at Northern Hospital of Surry County.”

In appreciation of the generosity and well-wishes of the over 60 donors to the “For Her” campaign, the Foundation hosted a special Reception & Ceremony on Friday evening to recognize the gifts and unveil commemorative plaques that identify the donors. In addition, a special plaque – dedicated to Dr. Tom Vaughn -- was unveiled in remembrance of Mount Airy’s earliest women’s-health pioneer.

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