Mercy Development Foundation Honors Rhonda and Perry Griffin with St. Augustine Award for Distinguished Service - Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Development Foundation Honors Rhonda and Perry Griffin with St. Augustine Award for Distinguished Service

Posted on: September 26, 2017

Canton, Ohio: During its recent Founders Day Donor Recognition event, Mercy Development Foundation awarded grateful patient Rhonda Griffin and her husband Perry its highest honor – the St. Augustine Award for Distinguished Service. This annual award recognizes individuals whose leadership and vision has impacted and helped transform Mercy Medical Center.

Since 2009, the Griffins’ fundraiser Cruisin for Cancer, a car show they hold every year in Louisville, Ohio, has raised more than $60,000 for Mercy Cancer Center. Their gifts assist Mercy cancer patients with the purchase of wigs, prostheses, head coverings, skin care products, physician office co-pays, and transportation costs.

Rhonda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and underwent surgery and radiation treatment at Mercy. Since July 2017, Rhonda has been cancer free for eight years. She credits the diligence of Diane Wofsey, breast nurse navigator, as well as Mercy Cancer Center’s exceptional care, with saving her life. She says the experience opened her eyes to people in need in her own community, as well as to the programs that exist to help.

During her treatment at Mercy, Rhonda met many other cancer patients and learned about their stories. “I quickly realized how fortunate I was to have good health insurance,” says Rhonda. “I paid very little out of pocket for my care. Yet, I often would sit next to someone who had very little.”

Interactions at the cancer center, together with a love of cars that she and her husband share, sparked the car show idea. They were motivated by the desire to promote early cancer detection, community resources for cancer patients, and giving locally. The event has grown each year, attracting hundreds of cars and nearly 1,000 visitors. Mercy also provides health screenings at the event.

In 2013, the Griffins started partnering with the Stark County Sheriff’s Department, which not only assists in collecting donations, but also wrapped a Sheriff’s cruiser in pink. This pink cruiser has become a visible symbol in the community of the commitment of the Sheriff’s Office in the fight against cancer. This year, Barley’s Heating and Air Conditioning in Canton, along with other sponsors and patrons, extended the Griffins’ generosity even further.

Founders Day 2017 Marks Mercy’s 109th Anniversary

Each year, Mercy Development Foundation recognizes the founding of Mercy Medical Center by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, who opened the hospital’s doors on September 24, 1908 – the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mercy and exactly 57 years after the Sisters left Boulogne sur Mer, France, to care for the orphans and sick of northeast Ohio. Founders Day Donor Recognition is also a time to honor and thank the foundation’s many supporters.

In September 2011, Mercy formally and publicly launched Mercy Development Foundation as a separate, non-profit, fundraising arm of the hospital with a sole purpose of enhancing Mercy’s capabilities, allowing it to be responsive to the health-care needs of our community, and helping it continue the mission established by the Sisters of Charity 109 years ago.

About Mercy Development Foundation

Mercy Development Foundation, a separate non-profit corporation, helps Mercy Medical Center meet its future needs through charitable gift planning. The foundation exists solely to benefit the patients, programs, services and capital needs by enhancing the financial capabilities of the hospital while continuing the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. The foundation not only oversees the solicitation of funds and gifts from individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations, but receives, receipts, records and acknowledges all gifts, and then manages and invests these funds in order to disburse them in the best interests of the hospital.

As a Catholic health-care organization, the mission of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Development Foundation are the same: to continue Christ’s healing ministry by providing quality, compassionate, accessible and affordable care to the whole person – regardless of ability to pay. For lasting support and ministry, please consider leaving your legacy by remembering Mercy in your will or estate plans. For more information, visit

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