Bob and Beverly Bartner
Even if you’ve never heard the names Bob and Beverly Bartner, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with one of the dozens of Broadway shows this Tony award-winning producing team has backed over the past 30 years. Among their many credits are commercially and critically acclaimed hits like The Book of Mormon, A View From the Bridge starring Scarlett Johansson and Live Schreiber, and Come from Away.
Both Bob and Beverly are native to the New York area, but they moved to Sarasota in January 2010, drawn by their first love— the arts. “It’s got an incredible array of arts—everything you could possibly enjoy— and they’re all quite good,” Bob says.
High-quality medical care was another big attraction to the area. “The healthcare in Sarasota is as good as, or better here than, it would be anywhere else,” he adds. The couple has experienced Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s top-notch care firsthand. “The doctors and nursing care at SMH, based on our experience with other hospitals, are excellent.”
The Bartners have long been supporters of the arts, but given the critical need for healthcare, they decided to make a major personal and financial commitment to SMH, and particularly to its new Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute. “Having world-class cancer care in Sarasota will be a great comfort to patients and their families, especially those who thought they needed to travel elsewhere for the best treatment,” says Beverly.
Bob and Beverly are co-chairs of the Healthcare Foundation’s Leading with Care campaign with the goal of raising $75 million for the Jellison Cancer Institute. Their own $1 million donation is the largest charitable gift the couple has made to date. “Our role is to try to spread the word as to what the vision for the Jellison Cancer Institute is, and why it is important for everyone in Sarasota,” Bob says.
As a melanoma survivor, Beverly understands the importance of having a leading cancer center close to home. “Everybody I was meeting here in Sarasota had cancer stories,” she says. One of her friends had to travel to Tampa because Sarasota didn’t have its own cancer center. “It’s so much better to undergo treatment locally.”
The couple’s gift will help SMH provide comprehensive care to patients, such as the oncology nurse navigation program, which guides patients step-by-step along their treatment path. “The patient is assigned a nurse navigator who acts as their tour guide and tells them where they need to go and what they have to do, not only for their direct medical care, but also for their other social needs and life needs,” Bob explains.
He says these kinds of programs are “essential to having a leading cancer institution,” along with the hospital’s ongoing commitment to attracting top doctors. “It’s wonderful to have new buildings with great equipment, but to make a cancer institute truly valuable you need a world-class medical team of doctors and nurses, and the Jellison Cancer Institute will have one,” he adds.
To learn more about the cancer campaign, please visit smhf.org/hope.
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