Nell Bowen, 83, encourages the large crowd of 781 people to continue bidding higher and higher for her fudge during the live auction at the Olathe Health Charitable Foundation's Yuletide Gala. (from left) Liz Anne McElhaney, OMCCF Director; Nell Bowen; and Cole Harbur, Nell's grandson.
OLATHE, KAN. (December 6, 2016) – What's the most you would pay for one pound of fudge? For donors in Kansas, it is $4,200 per pound. It's not just the chocolate, pecans and marshmallow fluff that make it desirable. It's the care and love Nell Bowen, 83, puts into every batch.
For the past 50 years, Nell has donated her fudge to various charitable organizations, including Olathe Medical Center, her church and Gift of Life. She also gives her fudge for Christmas in lieu of gifts and cards. She makes an average of 60 - 85 batches of fudge per year, each at 6.5 lbs. That is up to 600 lbs. of fudge a year.
On December 3, at Olathe Medical Center's (OMC) 45th Annual Yuletide Gala, a black-tie event benefitting OMC's Cancer Center, the last batch of Nell's fudge was up for auction. You see, she had recently announced this would be her last year to make her fudge.
Escorted to stage by her grandson Cole Harbur, Nell received a standing ovation. As a longtime Olathe resident, Nell is well-known in the community and loved for her kind, generous spirit. Nell recently received cancer treatment at OMC. Since donations for her fudge were going to a cause so close to her heart, she encouraged the audience to bid high belting out "Let the bidding begin!"
Last year Nell's fudge brought in $4,300 at the Gala. This year, the bidding war was especially hot for this sweet, chocolaty goodness. The highest bidder won the 6.5 lb. batch of fudge at $28,000. With such high stakes, Nell offered to provide one more batch if the second highest bidder would honor his final bid of $27,000. He agreed with no hesitation, bringing the total raised from Nell's fudge to $55,000.
The funds will benefit OMC's new Cancer Center. It is being built so cancer patients in the surrounding community can receive their care close to home. In the OMC service area, nine people each day are diagnosed with cancer. They deserve to have continuity of care by physicians they know and trust.
The Yuletide Gala raised a total net proceeds of $190,000, which brought the total Cancer Center Capital Campaign to more than $3.3 million.
Video Documentary of Nell Making Fudge: Nell's grandson, Luke Harbur, created a video documentary in honor of Nell's fudge legacy.
ABOUT OLATHE MEDICAL CENTER
For more than 63 years, Olathe Medical Center has expanded its services to meet the growing needs of the community. Today, Olathe Medical Center is located at Olathe Medical Park, one of the largest hospital campuses in the Midwest - a nearly 250-acre campus at 151st Street and I-35 in southern Johnson County, Kansas. The five-story acute-care medical center is licensed for 300 beds and averages more than 44,000 patient care days per year. Its emergency care center is one of the busiest in the region, with more than 42,000 patients treated annually. Olathe Medical Center is currently building a new Birth Place with Level II NICU and a Cancer Center.
ABOUT Olathe Health Charitable Foundation
The Olathe Health Charitable Foundation (OMCCF) helps fund quality medical services in our community. It relies on the generous support of individuals and businesses whose donations help fund programs, equipment and community services for Olathe Medical Center, Miami County Medical Center and Olathe Health Physicians. Donations to OMCCF will support our patients and their families at critical times in their lives. Together, we can make a difference in providing quality, compassionate healthcare for our community.