When Margaret Watkins held her first-ever benefit in memory of her husband, Calvin, to raise funds for UNC Lineberger, she was overwhelmed by the support she received from her community. “I generated a lot of friends that day,” she said. “They were popping up like popcorn.”
Margaret had participated in a similar event organized by Dr. Alice Garrett, who holds an annual benefit concert in memory of her husband, Bobby, who died from the same type of cancer as Calvin. The two met after Dr. Garrett learned of Margaret’s husband’s death and asked Margaret to sing at her benefit.
This year, Dr. Garrett asked Margaret to hold a benefit of her own as part of their fundraising efforts. “When Alice asked me to hold my own benefit, I told her: ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ But Alice said it would be easy, so I decided to give it a shot,” explained Margaret.
Margaret’s inspiration came from Calvin. “Just before he died, he told me he wanted to donate his body for research. He said, ‘I want people to know what I had and maybe I can help someone else.’” His words stuck with Margaret, and in this spirit, she’s doing what she can to help others.
Calvin’s UNC Lineberger physician was Dr. Carol Shores. “Dr. Shores was the most compassionate doctor I’ve ever met in my life,” said Margaret. “Throughout our journey, everybody was so nice and supportive. Our whole family was treated wonderfully.”
Margaret held her inaugural event on October 5 at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Wendell. She says, “I did this in memory of my husband. It’s going to be an ongoing thing. We can all come together for the benefit of something good.” The benefits organized by Margaret and Dr. Garrett help provide funding for the UNC Lineberger Thoracic Oncology Program. They hope to raise more than $15,000 this year in support of throat cancer research and care.
“I was so moved and overwhelmed by everyone who came out to support me. It seemed like people just kept coming to the concert. It was just awesome. I want to do anything I can to help other people.”
To view an excerpt from this concert, check out the video below.