On May 10, 2018, Massachusetts General Hospital said thank you to its dedicated fundraising community with a celebration at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston.
A Toast to Our Fundraising Community kicked off with a cocktail reception, followed by a speaking program featuring community fundraiser Kurt Power, an MBTA Transit Officer, Purple Heart recipient and a former patient at Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Mass General program focused on helping veterans, service members and their families heal from the invisible wounds of war.
Mr. Power, who served in the Iraq War, said life after the war was devastating. “I was not only crippled by survivor guilt but haunted by reoccurring dreams,” he said.
Finding Help at Home Base
After years of trying to cope on his own, Mr. Power called Home Base. He spoke with a veteran outreach coordinator who was also a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. With the coordinator’s guidance, Mr. Power began attending therapy and couple’s counseling with his wife.
“The amazing doctors at Home Base helped me tackle my issues from the war head on,” Mr. Power said. “We worked to identify my specific sources of trauma from Iraq, discussed how they were negatively impacting my life on a daily basis, and revisited these events to help me overcome them.”
To give back to Home Base, Mass General and the veteran community, Mr. Power launched the No-Shave November fundraising campaign in 2015. Participating police departments donate $100 per person to the Home Base program and pledge to grow their beards out for the month of November to raise support and awareness for the invisible wounds of war. The campaign concludes with a ceremonial shave-off at Fenway Park.
The campaign raised $12,000 in its first year. In 2017, more than 60 police departments from across Massachusetts joined the cause and raised more than $128,000.
“This year the sky is the limit because we’re bringing this fundraiser to all of Red Sox nation,” Mr. Power said. “Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut we’re coming for you.”
Removing Barriers to Care
Shiri Cohen, PhD, director of Couples Services at Home Base, said Mr. Power’s story illustrates the needs of many military families.
“The wounds they’re trying to get help for make it all the more difficult to advocate for themselves,” Dr. Cohen said. She thanked Mr. Power for his contributions to the Home Base program and said that efforts like No-Shave November make it possible to offer clinical care to veterans, service members and their families at no cost.
Britain W. Nicholson, MD, senior vice president for Development at Mass General, told attendees that “thanks to philanthropy, Home Base can remove barriers to care — offering treatment for veterans and their family members — regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of discharge status.”
Mass General relaunched its community fundraising program in February, 2017. Now known as BeCause: The Mass General Fundraising Community, this group of friends and supporters raises about $4 million annually to support the hospital by organizing and participating in events, social gatherings and online campaigns.
BeCause features a social fundraising website and online toolkit for fundraisers to share their stories. From cancer care to autism awareness, Mass General patients, their families, friends and caregivers have been inspired by their experiences at Mass General and are motivated to take action.