On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) celebrated and welcomed inaugural members of The Luminary Society at a special event held at the Harvard Art Museums. Established in late 2014, The Luminary Society honors and recognizes BWH donors whose lifetime giving is in excess of $1 million. Carrying the qualities of light, these luminaries serve as symbols of learning, progress, and inspiration. As BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, remarked, “Our great institution was founded by compassionate visionaries who dared to change the world. You are all shining beacons of hope.”
Guests were treated to a culinary feast and a keynote address by David Brooks, acclaimed New York Times columnist and author of "The Road to Character," a best-seller that examines how selflessness leads to greater success. Brooks discussed the paradoxes that exist between the parts of us that want to conquer the world and the parts that strive to serve and better the world. “You have to give to receive. You have to surrender something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave. Success can lead to the greatest failure which is arrogance and pride. Failure can lead to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.”
The evening was capped by moving tributes from four patients who thanked Luminary Society members by sharing personal stories of the life-saving and life-changing care they received at BWH.
Cindy Scribner of Pelham, New Hampshire, described her ordeal as an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patient awaiting and finally receiving a double lung transplant. “Everyone at the Brigham treated me as someone special and helped me stay strong. You do not see this kind of care in many hospitals. I know this because I am a licensed nurse.”
Another patient, Matt Kramer of Portland, Maine, shared the story of a plane crash that left him with broken bones, a collapsed lung, internal bleeding, and other life-threatening injuries. “I honestly can say without the world class care I received, I would not be alive today. Simply put, the doctors and nurses at the Brigham saved my life.”
Thanking the patients for bravely telling their stories, Nabel closed the event with a formal proclamation. “As champions for our caregivers, you ensure the dedicated men and women who give so much to our patients are able to explore new horizons, share best practices, and recharge their spirits. The Brigham family is privileged to benefit each day from the depth of your generosity and compassion.”
View a photo gallery from the event: