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January 20. 2013 9:54PM

Keene book group pools money, buys DVD players for cancer center


Members of the Margareaders women's book club present their gifts to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Kingsbury Pavilion in Keene. Standing, left to right, Jennifer Michelson, director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Kingsbury Pavilion and book club members Briana Thatcher, Becky Auger, Lacey Avery, Heather Ells, Tracey Weber. Sitting, Beth Truman, Rachael Fowler, Jaime LaRoche, and Holly Rilling. (COURTESY)
KEENE - A women's book club pooled its resources this past holiday season to gift cancer patients with DVD players and books.

Margareaders usually holds a gift exchange during the holiday season. This year, they decided to use the money they would have spent on holiday gifts for each other to buy a DVD player for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center Kingsbury Pavilion at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene.

The women became more aware of the cancer center because a friend has been experiencing the various stages of treatment and healing at the center this year, said Cindy Rodenhauser Stewart, Director of Development at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. The challenges the patients face stood out to the women, especially the long hours some may sit while receiving chemotherapy, she said.

To comfort those in treatment the women decided to give the gift of story, by donating a portable DVD player for patients of the Pavilion. The women, though, raised more money than they thought they would and donated five portable DVD players and over 50 books.

"The Margareaders' gift was wonderful. It was just something that the ladies came up with one their own to honor their friend and we are just the humble recipients of their kindness and so many patients are going to benefit," Stewart said. "For us it represents a couple of different things. First of all so many people will benefit from the gift. When you are undergoing chemotherapy you are in the same room with other patients for a very long period of time."

The center uses blanket warmers and televisions to keep patients comfortable, she said. Now patients can sit back and watch a movie on one of the five portable players.

"This gift from a small group of ladies is going to have a huge impact on our groups of patients," Stewart said.

Secondly, she said, the gift underscores the generosity of the community, which 120 years ago made the hospital possible in downtown Keene through donations.

mpierce@newstote.com

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