For Raleigh native Ginger Finley, community service and giving back has always been a way of life. She started by volunteering in the nursery at VCU during high school and continued at UNC Hospitals as a college student at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her life was then touched by cancer when she lost her stepfather to leukemia and supported a close friend who battled cancer for years.
Ginger responded by getting involved at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She and her husband, Ed, have been active members of the UNC Lineberger Board of Visitors for more than 20 years. They have loved learning about the latest advances in cancer prevention and treatment and supporting the cancer center with their time and resources.
In the mid-1980s, Ginger established a special holiday tradition. It started informally as a coffee for young mothers at the neighborhood drugstore, which transitioned into a full-blown holiday celebration in their homes. Now, every December, she and friend Laura Bromhal host a Christmas coffee to celebrate the season.
Recognizing that every family is touched by cancer in some way, Ginger and Laura decided to ask their guests to make a gift to support cancer research and care at UNC Lineberger. Over the years, these holiday celebrations have raised more than $20,000.
“The coffee has made us realize every little bit counts,” says Ginger. “It doesn’t have to be a big gift to make a difference.” Ginger and Laura are dedicating this year’s coffee to Patricia Morris, a friend who enjoyed attending the Holiday Coffee and was treated at the N.C. Cancer Hospital.
In addition to hosting the annual event, Ginger chairs a committee that gathers donations for the UNC Lineberger Patient and Family Resource Center. She collects much appreciated magazines and books, coffee and tea packets, warm socks and throws, and gas cards for cancer patients and their families. Ginger understands how cold it can be during hours of chemotherapy. A warm cup of tea or snuggling with a fuzzy afghan can be just the right medicine.