A long history of hospital support
In 1942, a number of women came together to sew sheets for the beds at Cape Cod Hospital. At that time, the hospital was a large white house, formerly owned by Dr. G. F. Gleason.
The group, known initially, as the Friends of Cape Cod Hospital and later, the Cape Cod Hospital Aid Association, decided they wanted to do more and began raising money to support the hospital, according to Dottie Hurley, president of the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary.
While the Cape Cod Hospital Aid Association became the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary over the years, the focus of the organization, which was to raise money for the hospital, has not changed. Today, more than 320 auxilians fundraise to help purchase equipment and provide financial support to meet the needs of the growing hospital that now houses the latest in technological and medical advances.
“The Auxiliary has been invaluable to the hospital it serves. Since 1953, the group has raised $8.2 million that has gone directly to improve patient care and services,” Hurley said.
“The monetary gifts from the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary speak volumes of their dedication to community and our patients at the hospital,” said Nancy Leanues, Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation Auxiliary Liaison.
On October 24, the Auxiliary will officially celebrate its 75th Anniversary with a luncheon and annual meeting at the Wequassett Inn in Harwich.
“The celebration will be for the entire auxiliary,” said Hurley.
A Rich History
The organization’s monetary gifts go back even further than 1953. When it was known as the Cape Cod Hospital Aid Association, the volunteers opened a hospital coffee shop, gift shop, provided a newborn photography service, opened the Cape Cod Hospital Thrift Shop and published a newspaper highlighting the activities of the six branches, all between 1950 and 1951, according to stories in the Falmouth Enterprise.
The branches at that time were Chatham, Harwich, Orleans-Eastham, South Yarmouth-Bass River, Yarmouth and Barnstable. And volunteers from all the branches worked in the three shops.
Their creativity knew no boundaries.
The Yarmouth branch came up with the idea to publish a cookbook in 1949, titled, “Cape Cod Kitchen Secrets.” The cookbook had four editions and sold more than 18,000 copies, netting more than $6,000 by 1955, according to the Falmouth Enterprise.
The Auxiliary today is composed of four branches, Chatham-Harwich, Barnstable, Orleans and the Cape Cod Hospital Thrift Shop.
The volunteers continue to be as creative as their predecessors with their fundraising efforts.
“Each branch also holds its own fundraisers every year,” said Hurley.
The different branches host golf tournaments, card parties, wine tastings, a Holly Berry Fair in Orleans every other year, and dinner/auction events.
“They raise funds dollar by dollar, while spreading the good news about Cape Cod Hospital,” said Hurley.