Dwight Jenkinson has been both a participant and a witness to the tremendous growth of McLeod Health over the last four decades. Yet, it was the personal recognition of a problem faced by cancer patients that led him to be a part of the solution.
Dwight has been an important member of the McLeod family since 1957. Serving as interim Administrator, Dwight was instrumental in the establishment of McLeod Regional Medical Center at its current location in 1979.
Dwight is acutely aware of issues facing cancer patients as he has battled a rare brain tumor since 1985. This is one of several reasons that he has been closely following the development of the new McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research.
In 1985, Dwight experienced a seizure while traveling with several members of the hospital staff to Duke University Medical Center in Durham to view a prototype of an MRI the hospital was planning to purchase. Following two additional seizures, Dwight eventually received an MRI study on the system he had been traveling to view a few months earlier. The exam revealed a brain tumor. He underwent surgery and was then allowed to return to his beloved McLeod for radiation treatment.
Dwight retired from McLeod as Corporate Treasurer in 1991 and enjoyed many years on the golf course. In 2010, Dwight leaned that the tumor had re-occurred. This rare tumor could now be treated with new technology, the gamma knife, which was available at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Dwight and his wife, Barbara feel blessed to have had the resources to travel to receive the care he needed. They also marvel that with the opening of the new Cancer Center, McLeod Health will now offer the very latest technology, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, making the travel for Dwight’s treatment unnecessary.
Barbara’s daughter, Christine Hurst, is the Office Manager of McLeod Oncology and Hematology Associates. This practice will be relocating to the second floor of the new McLeod Cancer Center. Dwight recalls Christine sharing with him how as she was leaving work in the evening, she and her staff often encountered patients who were still waiting to be picked up. This was upsetting to her. Christine and her staff often stayed to assist these patients until their rides arrived.
In March of 2013, Dwight and Barbara were reading the latest edition of the McLeod Foundation’s Legacy Series newsletter. They were touched by the story of Sarah McElveen, a cancer patient from Pamplico who shared how a lack of transportation was a barrier to her receiving lifesaving treatments. This story had a happy ending because Raquelle Serrano, the McLeod Oncology Social Worker, was able to assist Sarah with the Loving Initiative For Transportation (L.I.F.T.) Program. The L.I.F.T. Program, which is funded by generous donors to the McLeod Foundation, has been assisting cancer patients who do not have transportation for more than 11 years.
Dwight was so moved that a solution existed to assist patients in their time of crisis that he decided to make an estate commitment to benefit this program. He and Barbara were able to work with his financial advisor, John Turner at Hilliard Lyons, to make the McLeod Foundation a partial beneficiary of his retirement policy, designating the gift to assist the L.I.F.T. Program.
Today, Dwight is comforted knowing that both the Cancer Center and the L.I.F.T. Program will continue to offer cancer patients in our region the highest level of care and service. Through his legacy gift, Dwight Jenkinson will effect in a positive manner the lives and treatment of other cancer patients.
To read Sarah’s story or learn more about the L.I.F.T. Program, please visit the McLeod Foundation website www.mcleodfoundation.org.