Bill Ronayne's Personal Experience with Prostate Cancer Led Him to Twice Sponsor Chester County Hospital's Challenge for Cancer Bike Ride.
Published: The Chester County Hospital Foundation Donor Report FY2014
Patient navigators; support groups; assistance with prescriptions; living expenses; transportation; massage therapy; post-cancer fitness programs; advanced treatment technology; even a wig service -- all these are supported with funds raised through the annual Chester County Hospital Challenge for Cancer Bike Ride held in June. Bolstering so many critical services for Chester County Hospital's cancer treatment programs and Neighborhood Health, it is no wonder a nine-year survivor of prostate cancer chose to become a major financial backer of the fundraiser two years in a row.
William W. Ronayne -- owner of Brandywine Valley Heating and Air Conditioning, Old Fern Hill Road, West Chester, PA -- was a lead sponsor in 2013 and then, a presenting sponsor for the 2014 fundraising ride. A cyclist himself, Bill rode in the 30-mile event at the 16th Annual Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning Chester County Challenge for Cancer. The ride, which begins and ends at the Fern Hill Medical Campus at 915 Old Fern Hill Road, offers a 5-mile family run, as well as 10, 30, 50 and 65-mile bike tours through the county. It has raised more than $350,000 for the Hospital since its inception.
Sponsoring the bike ride was a natural fit for his company and for him as a cancer survivor, Bill says. "You don't think cancer is going to happen to you. I am so thankful my doctor began regular PSA [prostate-specific antigen] screening when I turned 45, because he could see the numbers slowly going up over a few years. When the physical exam verified something wasn't right, my doctor sent me to urologist Ken Collins [Kenneth P. Collins, MD]. Turns out he is one of the leading prostate urologists on the East Coast." After surgery at Chester County Hospital, Bill is convinced "PSA screening and the vigilance and skills of my doctor and urologist saved my life."
Prior to Bill's sponsorship of the Challenge event, he was approached by Challenge Committee Chair Rick Stevenson "who outlined where the money from this event went, how it helps cancer patients, and how it would be a good fit for my business," Bill remembers. "After all, we are right next door to the start of the race."
Post-race, Bill says he is happy with the exposure his company received. "It was a great event, well organized, with lots of volunteers who put in a lot of time to make things run smoothly." He is considering sponsoring the 2015 event, and after asking questions regarding the Hospital's partnership with Penn Medicine, was assured by charity race officials and Hospital administrators that "any money raised for the Hospital, remains at Chester County Hospital."
Even before becoming a full-fledged member of Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital was part of the Penn Cancer Network for many years. "It's a powerful partnership with Penn Medicine that gives doctors here in Chester County, PA access to the latest technology and research related to curing cancer," explains a Hospital spokesperson.
By Gail Guterl