Teeing Off for Cancer Patients – Bill Williamson Memorial Golf Tournament 2018

Content provided by Les Fout, Ph.D. – Executive Director at Provision CARES Foundation.


The 4th Annual Bill Williamson Memorial Golf Tournament was held on Friday, June 15th at Avalon Golf & Country Club. Proceeds from the tournament benefit Provision CARES Foundation which serves more than 1,600 families battling cancer per year in East Tennessee.

The tournament had both morning and afternoon rounds, was completely sold out, and had more than 210 golfers.

Approximately $50,000 in net proceeds will be raised as a result of this great tournament. (more…)

Scott Hamilton friend Wylie skates for cancer


This is an edited version of an article originally published in the Halls Shopper.

Paul Wylie has known Scott Hamilton since he was 10-years-old, and while the enduring friendship may not be surprising, Wylie’s a little amazed the two are still strapping on skates to perform together.

“We have longevity—I don’t think I would have thought of that as a child,” says Wylie. “It is a lifelong sport now.”

Wylie will join Hamilton and an impressive list of figure skating champions at 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum for “Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice.” The event will raise money for the Provision CARES and Scott Hamilton CARES Foundations, which fund cancer research and supports cancer patients and their families. The event also will include noted skaters Katia Gordeeva, pairs gold medalist with late husband Sergei Grinkov in the 1988 and 1994 Olympics; 2014 Olympic medalist Jeremy Abbott; world champion figure skaters Yuka Sato and Steven Cousins; U.S. national figure skating champions Alissa Czisny, Ryan Bradley, Michael Weiss; ice dancing champions Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre; 1990s British National Champion Steven Cousins and ice dancing siblings Sinead Kerr and John Kerr.

The skaters will be performing to the live music of Michael W. Smith, acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician who has sold more than 15 million albums, achieved 28 No. 1 songs. Smith has earned three GRAMMY® Awards, one American Music Award, and more than 40 Dove Awards. He was recently honored, with Amy Grant, by ASCAP as “a cornerstone of Christian music” and in 2014 received recognition as “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Nashville Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

This is Smith’s first appearance at the Knoxville event but the for Wylie. Both his father and mother are cancer survivors, and he watched Hamilton go through his own bout with testicular cancer and subsequent brain tumors. He has toured the Provision Center for Proton Therapy and says he considers himself an advocate for the cancer treatment.

“I’ve been doing benefits for cancer research since I was a teenager,” he says. “Cancer is absolutely something I had close by.”

Although he has never had cancer himself, within the past year, Wylie experienced his own brush with a life-threatening illness. One morning during a workout with friends, he collapsed, and his heart stopped beating. Two men took turns doing CPR until first responders and rushed him to the hospital. After two days in an induced coma, Wylie woke up and learned he had been the victim of a cardiac arrest. After a battery of tests in which doctors could not determine the cause, he received an ICD—which functions both as a defibrillator and pacemaker—and set on the road to recovery.

He kept skating and says the experience gave him a new appreciation for life.

“I think when you have experienced closeness to death, it tends to put things in perspective, and you realize how fragile lives are,” he says.

After decades on the ice, Wylie says he still loves to perform, something that’s kept him doing shows like Scott Hamilton and Friends On Ice far past he retirement as, first, an amateur and then professional figure skater. He burst onto the world scene as a relative unknown at the 1992 Olympic Games, reaping a silver medal and launching a highly successful professional career. He also toured with Stars on Ice and has served as a television commentator.

“For me, the music and performing have really always been front and center,” he says. “That’s where I derive the pleasure of skating. The way the edge feels against, it’s a lovely feeling, a very free feeling.”

And, for the record, he’s still landing those double jumps.

The nice thing about events like “Scott Hamilton and Friends,” Wylie says, is it give skaters a chance to truly enjoy themselves and put on a show—with the unique aspect of performing to live music.

“There will be great skating, great music and it’s a great cause,” he says. “We’re there to entertain the audience. There’s just something about it, where the artists and the athletes work together to create something entertaining. It’s going to be a great show.”



13-year-old patient continues cancer fight


For some cancer patients, Provision marks the end of their road in treating their disease. For others, it’s just a stop along the way.

That’s the case for 13-year-old Philip Parks, whose gioblastoma, a quickly reproducing brain cancer, required three surgeries and took him to Germany on the quest for a cure before he landed at Provision for proton therapy.

His battle is by no means over.

Next week Philip, his mom Lydia and his younger brother are getting ready to travel to Israel for another type of therapy the family hopes will halt the tumors that keep regrowing in his brain. His mom describes the treatment on a site set up to raise funds for the treatment and trip.

“There is a very hopeful cancer treatment plan at CTCI Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel, that would be administered by Dr Slavin, an expert in immunotherapy who studied at Stanford and has successfully treated and cured many “incurable” cases with immunotherapy. The plan includes dendritic cell vaccines, injected with placenta and cord tissue derived MSCt, two immuno drugs that have passed phase III trials, and an oncolytic virus that has also passed Phase III trials, as well as oncothermia. Both his neuro-oncologist at (the University of Kentucky) and Dr Slavin at CTCI are communicating together, to come up with the most effective way to fight back at the aggressive nature of Phil’s cancer. This will require at least three weeks in Israel.”

The Parks came to Provision Center for Proton Therapy for treatment he needed to keep the tumors at bay while they explored further options, Lydia says. Philip is a gifted student, and Lydia feared the long-term damage conventional radiation would inflict on his developing brain. Proton therapy provides targeted doses of radiation to the specific disease sites with little exposure to surrounding tissue and organs.

“Radiation does buy time with glioblastoma,” Lydia said. “For me, it’s just the hope that he’s going to live and that he’ll have two-thirds more of his brain that’s not been irradiated.”

You can read more about Philip’s journey at ProtonStories.com, a site devoted to the unique journeys of Provision’s proton therapy patients. He was also recently featured in an article in Southeast Outlook, a Christian magazine. It is a privilege to play a part in the brave, hopeful stories of people like Philip and his family.


Crowdfunding becomes source of support for those with life-threatening illnesses


It has not exactly been a banner year for Holly Caster.

Forced by an auto accident to leave her job and in the wake of related health problems, she noticed a nagging toothache that wouldn’t go away.

A visit to the dentist revealed a filling had been shoved up into her gum, but even after he fixed the tooth “the pain just go worse and worse,” she says.

She made the rounds of her dentist, an oral surgeon and ear, nose and throat specialists before a doctor told his nurse: “She needs a CT scan, now.”

They found adenoid cystic carcinoma, an uncommon form of oral cancer. Resulting surgery removed 70 percent of her left parotid or salivary gland and stripped the facial nerve to which a 2.4-centimeter tumor had been attached.

The good news: the cancer had not spread. However, to eliminate this risk, radiation therapy and chemotherapy were recommended. Because of the location of the cancer, conventional radiation typically results in a feeding tube and other unpleasant short- and long-term side effects. That made proton therapy the recommended route but required Caster to travel from Michigan to the Provision Center for Proton Therapy for treatment.

Fortunately, insurance approved the treatment, but the process has been disruptive. Caster, her sister, mom and kids have set up housekeeping in Knoxville for the more than two months she’ll be here for proton therapy combined with a chemotherapy course. That means financial stress on top of everything else.

But like many who find themselves in similar circumstances, Caster has received assistance from family, friends and friends of friends through the crowdfunding site, gofundme.com. (Her page is http://www.gofundme.com/xjrgf7c.)

Apple Wick set up the site for Caster, who describes her as “more than a best friend.” So far, the site has raised $3,100 for her cause.

Although the first known Provision patient to seek support by way of fundraising online, there has been a significant uptick in crowdfunding for healthcare expenses, with a number of sites starting up to fill the niche. Among them GiveForward, Healthline, FundRazr and StartACure, which focuses specifically on medical research work.

On the GoFundMe site, individuals in 2014 raised $147 million from about 600,000 appeals in the “Medical, Illness and Healing” category and 2014, so far in 2015, has hosted more than 740,000 medical appeals raising more than $197 million, according to a recent news article in The Buffalo News.

Proton therapy candidates are among those who may especially benefit from these campaigns. Because many private insurers don’t cover the treatment, patients may face paying for it out of their own pockets. A GoFundMe search returned 153 proton therapy-related pitches, ranging from a $247,000 campaign for a young Filipino girl with spinal cancer to $6,185 for the travel expenses of a family whose baby was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  (more…)

Ultramarathoner sets goal for cancer cause


For Ron Moore, becoming an ultra-marathoner happened over the years as he evolved from short-distance venues to longer —and much longer—races.

Moore, senior physicist in ProNova Solutions’ research and development division, ran his first marathon in 2005. He didn’t finish, thanks to an injured calf, but was back at it the following year, completing the Chicago Marathon in 2006. He transitioned to trail running, completing his first 50K in 2010 and upping the ante from there. He finished a 70-mile race earlier this year.

“I ran track and cross country through high school and college, and as I started losing speed, I just ran farther,” he says.

Moore is training now for his first 100-mile race, the Pinhoti 100 set in Alabama’s Talladega National Forest. But this time he’s not just running for his own accomplishment. He will be raising money for the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, a Provision partner non-profit founded by the noted Olympic ice skater and cancer survivor. The foundation funds world class research and quality care with the goal of improving cancer survivorship.

The reason is personal: A few years ago Moore’s wife, Patty, was diagnosed with renal clear cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.

Doctors discovered the tumor during a routine MRI, part of a regular screening because of her high risk for breast cancer, which runs in her family, Moore says. The cancer is found most often in men ages 50-70. She was in her 30s.

“The doctor said, ‘This is an old, white guy’s cancer,’” he says. “It was pretty hard because it was so shocking.”


Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer Fundraiser

SK8 to ELIMIN8 Cancer on March 8!


The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and Cool Sports, Home of the Icearium, are teaming up for another Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer ice skating fundraiser.   Join in the fun and take to the ice on Sunday, March 8 from 4:00-6:00 p.m., for Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer. This event will take place at Cool Sports, Home of the Icearium, 110 S. Watt Road in West Knoxville.

While it is free to attend, the registration cost to skate is only $10 which includes skate rental.  Many participants are asking friends, family and coworkers to pledge their support for this event which will raise money to fight cancer and support patients, their families, and their caregivers.

Several participants have already secured support for this event through gifts of $10, $100, and even $1,000.  Visit www.scottcares.org to download the sponsor form to secure pledges or to obtain more event information.  Prize packs will be awarded to participants who raise funds at certain levels.  The 2015 benefits include:

$250 – Team Scott sports bottle

$500 – Team Scott long-sleeve athletic shirt

$1,000 – Team Scott hooded sweatshirt

$2,500 – Team Scott hooded sweatshirt & duffle bag

$5,000 – 10 Tickets to Knoxville Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice Show & Celebration Dinner on February 20, 2016 (transportation and lodging not provided) OR Team Scott long-sleeve athletic shirt, hooded sweatshirt and duffle bag.

$10,000+ – Exclusive prize package customized by the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation team

There are several ways you can participate in this family-fun event:

  1. Print the pledge form and get started on securing your pledges.  Fundraising is fun!
  2. Come out that day and skate!  Cost to skate is $10 at the door which includes skate rental.
  3. Whether you skate or not, we encourage you to attend this family fun event and encourage others to join you.  The important thing is for everyone to unite to support patients in their fight to survive cancer.

Whether you skate or not, we encourage you to attend this family friendly event.  The important thing is for everyone to unite in our mission to support cancer patients.  If you can’t make it, please consider pledging your support through a donation.  Many Provision and Cool Sports employees, figure skaters, hockey players, and others are securing pledges to raise money to make a difference.

Unfortunately, we are all touched by cancer.  The good news is we can make a difference in supporting patients and their families through the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.  Whether it is education and wellness programs, funding research, or providing patient assistance, the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation fights cancer because of people investing in its mission.

No rsvp is required to attend on March 8th.  If you have questions, visit www.scottcares.org or call the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation at 1 (844)-SCOTT84.

Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice 2014 Highlight Video


Sponsored by Provision Center for Proton Therapy, the second annual “Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice,” featuring a live musical concert by MercyMe, was a magical evening of great music, phenomonal figure skating and a celebration of a progressive new vision in cancer advocacy, awareness and treatment. If you were unable to attend, we have compiled a highlight video of the figure skating and musical performance at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. We hope you enjoy the video, share it with your friends and visit the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation for more information.

Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer Fundraiser

First Annual SK8 to ELIMIN8 Cancer Raises $8K


On Friday August 8, 2014, the inaugural Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer event took place at Cool Sports, Home of the Icearium, in Farragut TN, with the invitation to join “Team Scott” on this worthy cause.

People of all ages came out to skate for a great cause.  More than 100 people came out to pledge their support in the fight against cancer.  Several families and their children hit the streets to raise pledges and donations for the event.  There were three children and their families that were extremely successful and raised more than $1,000 each.  One of which was a young 6th grader, Maggie Comer.  She was determined in her efforts and raised a grand total of $4,000!  Scott Hamilton commented on Maggie’s passion via email “Wow!  So young to be a philanthropist!  Creating opportunities that allow young people to know they can make a difference is wonderful.”   Because of her achievement, she and her family will receive dinner and event show tickets to the 2014 Scott Hamilton and Friends Show on Ice, on Saturday December 6th at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum and the Knoxville Convention Center.  She will also have the opportunity to meet and have a photograph with Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton at the event.

Provision CARES Foundation considered this event to be a big success!  With the help of the community, we are extremely happy to have raised a grand total of $8,000!  This event would not have been remotely possible or even successful without the help of Nadia Kogeler, the General Manger at Cool Sports, and Cool Sports and their employees for their help to raise awareness for this event.  Cool Sports is a major sponsor in this event as well as the December 6 event and made a donation back to Provision CARES Foundation that evening.   “This was a first annual event,” said Les Fout, Director of Provision CARES Foundation, “and we look forward to continuing and expanding this fun and successful night of fundraising.”

For more information about Provision CARES Foundation please visit www.provisioncares.org.


Nancy Howard is Vice President of Patient Services