Ceremonies to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Children’s wing at The Rathbun Center took place on Sept. 8. The Center is the only hospital hospitality house serving Western North Carolina. For 17 years the Center has provided lodging and other supportive services free-of-charge to patients and/or their caregivers coming to Asheville for medical treatment. The new wing will include the addition of six guest rooms, a laundry room, large storage area, common/playroom, a new kitchen, and a children’s library. During the construction a new roof will be added for the entire home.
In order to make the expansion possible, the Rathbun Center launched a capital campaign with a goal of raising $1.1 million.
“Today we are here to tell you that we have exceeded our goal,” said Chat Norvell and Susan Van Tassel, co-chairs for the Children’s Wing campaign. “We will continue to take donations for some much needed additions such as a whole house generator for those times when the electricity goes out,” said Norvell.
“The growth of Mission Children’s Hospital and the Reuters Children’s Outpatient Center has added the urgent need for more child-friendly overnight accommodations for families of children,” said Marcia Whitney, executive director of The Rathbun Center. “This will also help to open up additional rooms in the house for other families who have a loved one who is receiving medical treatments in one of the Asheville area hospitals.”
Adelaide Key, founder of The Rathbun Center, opened the festivities. Charles Abbitt, board chair, and Whitney talked about how the need for more rooms grew each day and how the center decided to proceed with the expansion in today’s economy.
Asheville’s Mayor Terry Bellamy read a proclamation for The Rathbun Center. Dr. Ron Paulus, president and CEO of Mission Health System, spoke about the partnership between the hospitals and the Center. Music was provided by Sharon Carleton Boone, Gray Pearson, Anna Rose Anderson and Mattie Jean Rowe all of Trinity Episcopal Church. A traditional Cherokee “smudging” was performed by Jerry Wolfe, a Cherokee Elder.