Obici’s stars dance for United Way

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 2, 2005

When Obici Hospital President Rosemary Check asked Nursing Medical Oncology director Lynne Whitlock and Patients Account director Bree Cason to coordinate the hospital’s annual United Way fundraiser, no one could have known how much extra help the agency would need in the all-too-near future.

No one knew that

Hurricane Katrina would storm through the southern central part of the United States. Hundreds, perhaps thousands are feared dead. The streets of New Orleans have been turned into one large flood. Thousands are without power. Entire cities have been put on hold, and it’s unclear as to when they’ll be able to function again. Estimated by the National Weather Service to be the strongest hurricane ever to hit American soil, behind only the &uot;Labor Day Hurricane&uot; that hit the Florida Keys in September 1935 and 1969’s Hurricane Camille, Katrina has thrown many states into chaos – and many Americans into action.

Email newsletter signup

The Red Cross said through its Web site that it had raised over $20 million in relief funds, and that thousands of volunteers had been mobilized to help Katrina’s victims. United Way organizations are also working together to raise funds and volunteers to offers aid of their own.

That’s why, when the Obici community gathered to dance Tuesday evening away in the hospital atrium for the &uot;Dancing with the Stars- Obici style&uot; event, their thoughts were never far from the ones in need.

&uot;I think the United Way is one of the most important organizations for people across Suffolk, people across Virginia, and people across the country to support, especially with the damage the hurricane did,&uot; said Chief Operating Officer Chet Hart, who waltzed with his wife Sandy to the cheers of dozens. &uot;We all had a good time.&uot;

In the week leading up the dance, Whitlock and Cason went around to the hospital’s various departments, asking for donations. This, combined with the dance (at which point donations consisted of the audience tossing bills at the dancers!) raised just over $1,500. Chief Financial Officer Bill Carpenter and his wife Ann were voted the event’s top couple.

&uot;We thought this would be fun,&uot; Whitlock said. &uot;People are ready for a lot of fun. They were very willing participants. They wanted to show their support for the United Way.&uot;

After the ceremonial section of the event, many in the audience hit the floor for such routines as &uot;Cha Cha,&uot; and &uot;Electric Slide.&uot; Check greeted and thanked several of the supporters.

&uot;When I heard about the dancing idea, I thought it was creative,&uot; said Check, who danced with Intensive Care Unit doctor David Foreman to &uot;They Can’t Take That Away From You.&uot;

&uot;The United Way has a lot of good causes that we provide support for.&uot;

To make a donation through the United Way’s relief fund, visit the Web site