A $2 million dollar pledge from local nonprofit The Life Ring Foundation marks a milestone in its Fighting Kids Cancer campaign and pediatric hematology and oncology in Southwest Virginia.

ROANOKE, October 5, 2023 – The Life Ring Foundation today announced a $2 million gift to Carilion Children’s, Southwest Virginia’s local Children’s Miracle Network hospital, for pediatric hematology and oncology at Carilion’s new cancer center.

The gift includes proceeds from the first in a series of fund-raising events organized by The Life Ring Foundation: The Darius Rucker concert in Roanoke’s Elmwood Park amphitheatre in June that attracted a sellout crowd and the Charlotte’s Play Yellow Invitational golf tournament at Ballyhack Golf Club in July with celebrity guests Julius Erving, Clyde Drexler, Joe Theismann, Roger Clemens, Billy Wagner and well-known current and former Hokies.

This gift is part of the Life Ring Foundation’s Fighting Kids Cancer campaign, which launched in January of 2023. This five-year initiative aims to transform the state of care for children diagnosed with cancer in southwest Virginia by funding critical resources and superior treatment for local children fighting and their families fighting cancer and blood disease.

“Every day in the U.S., approximately 43 children are diagnosed with cancer, and 1 out of 5 will not survive,” said Kelly Woolwine. “Children diagnosed with cancer in southwest Virginia do not have the weapons they need to win the war. We are losing kids simply due to lack of tools to fight, and the Life Ring Foundation hopes to improve that outcome.”

Since 2005, The Life Ring Foundation has served as a resource to support families throughout southwest Virginia in financial crises due to childhood cancer. Operating with a fraction of the infrastructure expenses of other comparable public charities, they pride themselves on constructing the shortest distances possible between means and needs. The Life Ring Foundation was founded by Jessica and Kelly Woolwine out of genuine passion to make Southwest Virginia a happier and healthier place.

“We are deeply grateful to the Life Ring Foundation and their donors for this generous gift that will allow us to make meaningful progress toward our common goal of bringing the latest, most advanced care to children fighting cancer in southwest Virginia,” said Nancy Howell Agee, Carilion Clinic’s Chief Executive Officer.

Jessica and Kelly Woolwine formed The Life Ring Foundation with the goal of “changing the narrative in which kids must leave Roanoke to receive treatment, to one that transforms our region as a hub for families to move to receive proper care. We can no longer stand for loss of our children’s lives to lack of resources. Our children are the Valley’s future.”

About The Life Ring Foundation:
Our mission is to build awareness, advocate for equal care, and fundraise for proper treatment for children fighting cancer and blood disease in Southwest Virginia. Visit liferingfoundation.org or call 812-216-5151 for further information.

About Children’s Miracle Network

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. 

As a member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, Carilion Children’s is fully committed to giving every child a healthy future. Through community support, CMN continues to improve pediatric care and address the most challenging health issues of today while preventing and preparing for those to come.

Media Links:


Carilion Children’s gets $2M donation for cancer center (wsls.com)

Carilion Clinic receives $2 million donation for cancer center (wdbj7.com)

Carilion gets big check towards new Cancer Center | News/Talk 960-AM & FM-107.3 WFIR (wfirnews.com)