Betsy Bonoff Menders says the Program in Women's Oncology was a "second family" to her mother, Barbara Bonoff, who spent countless hours in the Program's Infusion Center to receive chemotherapy treatment. When Betsy was also diagnosed with cancer, she too put her faith in Women & Infants.
The regard both mother and daughter developed for the Program in Women's Oncology's caregivers as well as the empathy they felt for other women battling the disease inspired them to help the hospital. In 2003, when Barbara Bonoff – the co-founder of the former Warwick Musical Theatre – passed away, her family asked loved ones to make contributions to The Program in her honor. Then, Betsy learned last year about a campaign to build a new Infusion Center for the Program. She reached out to her friends and those of her mother, asking them to support the project. Donations poured into the program.
In total, gifts made in their names surpass $70,000. "It makes me feel so blessed that we have so many people in our lives who love us and would make a donation in my mom's honor," says Betsy. Many of the gifts came from friends and business associates of Barbara and her husband, Burton "Buster" Bonoff, who ran the Warwick Musical Theatre.
Founded in 1955, the theater was a Rhode Island landmark, bringing Las Vegas headliners and Broadway hits to the state for decades. One of the donations to the hospital made in memory of Barbara Bonoff came from Roger Vorce, Liberace's personal agent. Betsy says each donor's name brought back fond memories.
"I know my mother will be smiling from heaven knowing that - with the help of people in her life - women who are in the position she once was will now have a beautiful facility to receive treatment," says Betsy.
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