Friendships are treasure that is never buried. They always are on display, often in the form of kind deeds without the expectation of reciprocation.
Jennifer Overstreet Styslinger, Net Sommers Wade, Leslie Jackson Moody and Alice Reeves Goepfert, M.D., associate professor of Maternal & Fetal Medicine, have been best friends for most of their lives. Styslinger, Wade and Goepfert grew up together in Selma, sat in the same classroom in kindergarten and graduated in the same high-school class. Moody crashed their inner circle in high school even though she lived in Luverne.
|Friends and family launched a letter-
writing campaign to generate funds to name one of the labor and delivery rooms in the new Women and Infants Center for Alice Goepfert.
In the years between there has been plenty of laughter shared and tears shed. They combined the two during a special dinner earlier this year when Styslinger, Wade and Moody told Goepfert they were raising money for the new Women & Infants Center and that they expected to generate enough funds to name one of the labor and delivery rooms for her.
“It is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me to acknowledge the importance of the work I do, the people I work with and what the department of OB/GYN has done for the people of Alabama,” Goepfert says. “I was just incredibly touched and honored.”
So were Styslinger, Wade and Moody. They have relied on Goepfert through the years for guidance — medical and otherwise — and when the fundraising opportunity came about they couldn’t wait to do it.
“We’ve known each other for so long, and we know each other’s families so well, that by the time you reach our age you’ve gone through a lot together,” Styslinger says. “We’ve seen her work hard and make sacrifices and for her to be so successful, we just couldn’t be happier.”
By women, for women
Women & Infants service line. The new Women & Infants Center is scheduled to open Feb. 21, 2010. It was decided early that part of the fundraising for the facility would be by women, for women, says Roberta Shapiro, interim director of the
Several teams of women were created. Styslinger was part of Theresa Bruno’s team, and they quickly determined they wanted to raise the money to honor a woman. Styslinger, Bruno and Goepfert were touring the new facility one day when they learned about naming opportunities for several rooms.
“Theresa and I thought it was a great op-portunity to honor Alice, but we kept the thought to ourselves until we could decide on a strategy to raise the funds,” Styslinger says.
So Styslinger recruited Wade and Moody to help. They launched a letter-writing campaign targeting friends and acquaintances from Selma in addition to the push in the Birmingham area by the other team members.
Their efforts yielded more than $75,000 in monetary gifts.
“We got in touch with all of our friends from high school and her friends, family, cousins, aunts and uncles,” says Wade. “It was such a personal experience. This was one of the most happy and exciting experiences I’ve been a part of because of how much I think of Alice.”
Goepfert says the importance of the funds raised by her friends and their team goes beyond her name on labor and delivery room No. 4 in the new building.
The money will be used to aid the women and infants of Birmingham, the surrounding counties and the state.
UAB Obstetrics & Gynecology provides comprehensive services for women throughout life and prides itself on being a premier academic medical center that strives to provide excellent patient care.
“We care for women across the spectrum — every cultural and ethnic group from any socio-economic background — and we provide excellent care to these women and their infants regardless of who they are, where they came from or what issue they have,” Goepfert says. “Now they will get what always has been the best level of care in the best facilities.”
Goepfert’s friends say they understand UAB’s importance to Alabama when it comes to caring for those in need, and that they were eager to help raise the money in Goepfert’s name.
“I wanted to give a donation to honor Alice so that she is reminded that we think so much of her, her work and her dedication, and I love the idea of women helping other women,” Moody says. “I think the new Women & Infants Facility is very important for advancement of women’s health in the state.”