Pictured Above (left to right): Debbie Bender, Senior Philanthropy Officer, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital; Joyce Germano, Community Relations and Development Coordinator, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital; Donna Stevenson, Executive Administrative Assistant, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital; Jessica Stewart, Chili Cook-Off Coordinator; and Tammy Rouleau, Breast Health Nurse Navigator, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.

On October 20, 2023, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital volunteer and philanthropic supporter Jessica Stewart hosted the 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser at Bad Dog Brewing Company—a community event that raised $16,422 for the hospital’s Pink Rose Fund.

Several local businesses and individuals contributed to the event’s success by providing monetary and in-kind donations. The event itself featured dozens of entries for the homemade chili competition and an incredible 55 raffle prizes. John Rouleau was named the winner of the Chili Cook-Off Competition.

“It was a great night to celebrate the Pink Rose Fund,” shares Jessica, a breast cancer survivor and former Charlotte Hungerford patient. “We had a great vibe where many people—including survivors and physicians and colleagues representing Hartford HealthCare—came together to share their stories and support local breast cancer patients. I am very thankful for the support Charlotte Hungerford provided for this event—particularly the team of Nurse Navigator Tammy Rouleau and Community Relations and Development Coordinator Joyce Germano. ”

“We are very grateful for Jessica Stewart’s friendship, volunteerism, and fundraising efforts,” said John J. Capobianco, SVP, Northwest Region, Hartford HealthCare. “The Pink Rose Fund is a beneficiary that embodies our hospital’s mission and values—and it has been wonderful to see the tremendous amount of support our community has for our oncology programs and patients.”

“Community fundraisers are an important and fun part of philanthropy at Charlotte Hungerford and it is extremely gratifying to have former patients, such as Jessica, remain connected to our organization and join in our mission to serve the community,” said Debbie Bender, Senior Philanthropy Officer at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.

Jessica says that she wanted to create an annual event to benefit the Pink Rose Fund—which provides support for educational outreach and screenings to assure that the women of northwest Connecticut have comprehensive, coordinated access to breast cancer services, programs, and treatments. In just its second year, the Chili Cook-Off doubled its net proceeds from its inaugural year.

“People going through cancer should not have to worry about paying a bill—and I think it’s beautiful that these funds will be made available to people in this community through the Pink Rose Fund,” shares Jessica. “My family has had two cancer diagnoses in the last five years—so I know what it feels like and it makes me want to fight hard and make a difference. I hope that this event and donation will give other people hope.”

According to Jessica, the 3rd Annual Chili Cook-Off will be scheduled for October 18, 2024. In the meantime, she will be collecting donated items from the community that will be included in cancer care bags that will be distributed to cancer patients at Charlotte Hungerford during the holidays. If you or your organization is interested in making an in-kind donation for the care bags, contact Jessica at jstewart@how2fitkids.org.

If you are interested in learning more about the Pink Rose Fund and how you can provide philanthropic support to the fund or Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, please contact Debbie Bender, Senior Philanthropy Officer, at Deborah.Bender2@hhchealth.org.