Europe Capability Centre

Passion For Patients

In Chester, England, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Europe Capability Centre (ECC) provides support to our company in financial matters, human resources, information technology and more. The ECC is made up of colleagues from across Europe and has quickly developed a strong passion for helping patients.

“In the past we’ve had bake sales and sponsored walks to raise money for local organizations, but we wanted to create much more of a personal connection with patients,” says Jennifer Dorsett, a member of the ECC Culture and Communications Committee.

Researching opportunities to help patients and create that connection, Jennifer visited the Christie Cancer Center in nearby Manchester, the largest cancer center in Europe, and discovered the Center’s art therapy program.

“When I walked through the Christie it was like many hospital environments; sterile and clinical,” explains Jennifer, “But then I turned the corner and saw the art therapy room and it was the polar opposite, awash in vibrant colors, celebrating life.”

The therapy program helps cancer patients express themselves and their feelings. Jennifer learned from the program’s artist in residence, Pat Mounford, that there is a significant need for funding of materials such as paints, brushes and canvases. Through this meeting, an idea was born to hold a silent auction of the patients’ work at the ECC to raise money for the much-needed supplies.

The auction featured 33 paintings donated by patients involved in the program, and Pat Mounford came to the ECC to tell some of the stories behind the works.

“Every painting represented an emotional story about a patient,” Jennifer says, “Those stories had an incredible impact, creating an emotional connection between colleagues at the ECC and the patients.”

After spirited bidding, the auction raised nearly £4,522 (about $6,000) for the Christie art therapy program. Most of the paintings were purchased by teams rather than individuals so that the art would remain in the ECC for everyone’s benefit. These paintings serve as a daily reminder that we all work for patients every day. The Christie also received a comment book filled with the auction participants’ reflections, plus a note from Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio who visited the Chester facility around the time of the auction.

The ECC continues to work with the Christie Center – recently hosting Pat Mounford to conduct an art therapy session with 30 ECC staff members – and additional fund-raising activities are ongoing. On a personal level, Jennifer recently donated her own hair to make wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

“Our medicines help the body, but it’s up to us to help the spirit and soul,” Jennifer says.

Every painting represented an emotional story about a patient. Those stories had an incredible impact, creating an emotional connection between colleagues at the ECC and the patients.