Chelsea Community Hospital is grateful to have generous supporters who contribute to its success in special and unique ways. Jan Lyons is one of those extraordinary people, who has given of herself – her time, talent, and treasure – for the past 30 years.
Jan’s story of giving began when her infant son was hospitalized for 18 months. “We were taken care of by wonderful people in the medical field for years. I received so much of what money can’t buy,” said Jan. “Those skilled doctors kept him alive.”
A few years later, Jan walked into the doors of Chelsea Community Hospital and asked how she might volunteer. To her surprise, there was no volunteer corps.
There were, however, 11 ladies who played cards and games with the patients on Thursday afternoons. With Jan’s encouragement, they began doing extra projects without any budget. Within a year, Jan became Director of Volunteers. “I was there 18 years. When I left, we had 240 volunteers working across all the departments, and we had opened a gift shop,” said Jan. She also launched Chelsea’s Development Department and was among the leaders and founders of the Hospital’s annual Spring Auction and Holiday Gala.
“We didn’t have budgets for fundraising back then,” Jan said. She paid for supplies herself and took on hands-on tasks like sewing “hundreds and hundreds of backdrops, table cloths, napkins, upholstery, drapes and pillows” to create splendid special events. “Whatever it takes to make the scene, you figure out how to make it,” said Jan. She continues to be a driving force behind the Hospital’s fundraisers today, working hard behind the scenes to make the events truly unforgettable.
Recently, the Jan and Bob Lyons Family Foundation supported the 25th Annual Auction to help fund chemotherapy infusion services for cancer patients at Chelsea Community Hospital. The family decided to purchase an infusion chair in honor of Jan’s husband, Bob, who lost his battle with cancer in 2004.
“It’s important for this community, so people don’t have to travel far for treatment,” Jan explained. “Just like Bob, unfortunately, somebody has to sit in an infusion chair. And maybe we’ve been able to make just one more available. He would like that.”
Jan’s years of contributions to Chelsea Community Hospital have been memorable for her. “I feel good when I give as much from my heart as I do from my finances. I learned that from Bob,” Jan said. “It makes you feel good inside. I know that all these things make a difference to someone who needs medical care.”
Jan is a member of Chelsea Community Hospital’s Acorn Group, which is a special group of people who have decided to leave the Hospital in their will. “It was an appropriate thing to do with the hospital close to my heart,” she said. “When I did the will, I said I want to leave this money to Chelsea Hospital. I’d like to leave money a lot of places, but it’s really nice to leave it somewhere that gave me so much.”