ATLANTIC CITY — CNN’s Anderson Cooper spoke about hope to about 700 people at Shore Medical Center Foundation’s 24th annual Stainton Society Thank You Brunch at Revel’s Ovation Hall in Atlantic City on Sunday.
“What I noticed here today is the theme of giving people hope, and that is what is all around me every day —hope,” Cooper, host of CNN’s “Anderson 360” television show told the crowd.
Cooper, the featured speaker, told stories of interviewing celebrities and politicians, including President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. Cooper got a laugh from the crowd when he told them Obama keeps the heat turned high and Cooper sweated through the interview.
Cooper made a correlation to those in the medical field when he spoke of his early career as a war correspondent. He talked about the many tragedies he saw in the field.
“I admire doctors and nurses, because you are able to do something to help. There’s nothing worse than being in a situation, and you are running and ahead of relief workers and medics, but you can’t do anything,” he said of his time in the field while covering war and violence.
Cooper said he may have graduated from Yale University, but he was educated as a reporter in Somalia, where he saw the starvation and deaths.
“When you’re reporting on war, you are at the edge of life and death every day, and I imagine that’s what it’s like for the employees of Shore Medical, who are facing life and death every single day,” he said.
The line that separates the living from the dead and the rich from the poor is as thin as a thread, and that thread is as thin as the walls of the human heart, he told the crowd.
He also referenced recent news events including the Boston Marathon bombing, which he covered for CNN. Only in the wake of tragedy such as that is there a certain kind of unity, he said.
“I was there for two weeks, and, at the end, I found I didn’t want to leave. I wish that sense of unity could last longer,” Cooper said.
Doctors and nurses such as those at Shore Medical have that kind of unity, looking out for one another every day, he said. He praised Shore Medical Center Foundation’s Stainton Society for looking out for the community and raising money for added support.
“What I tell myself to fall asleep at night is that I do believe in bearing witness, learning that person’s name and story and carrying them with me,” he said of his work as a journalist.
Ron Johnson, chief executive officer of Shore Medical, said Cooper was a perfect choice for the Stainton Society Thank You Brunch.
“What I found quite unexpected was when he tied in our theme of giving people hope. That’s what he does every day. That’s we do here,” Johnson said. “We take a look at people’s lives through their experience at the hospital and give them hope.”
Shore Medical Center in Somers Point boasts six facilities considered Centers of Excellence for cancer, cardiovascular, neurosciences, spine and orthopedic, emergency, maternity and pediatric care. In recent years, the center began an affiliation with Penn Medicine and is a member of The Jefferson Neuroscience Network.
Johnson said the journey during the past two years has brought many innovations, including the Pediatric Care Center, the Surgical Pavilion and Campus and, later this summer, Shore Crucial Care to be opened in Atlantic City.
This kind of care provided by the center is something Mary Anne and Richard Kull found comfort in during the years. The Kulls helped chair the event but also are thankful for the center, Mary Anne Kull said.
When the Kulls bought their home in Ocean City in 1977, they felt a comfort knowing a small, capable hospital was right across the causeway, Mary Anne Kull said, speaking to the audience.
She said when the couple would see a helicopter preparing to land on the pad at the hospital, they knew someone was in trouble. One night, that someone was Richard Kull.
“Richard had the classic symptoms of a heart attack — sweaty palms and chest pains. I drove him across the causeway, and he was quickly diagnosed. A helicopter came, and he had to go to Philadelphia,” Mary Anne Kull said.
She said she kissed her husband goodbye and asked for him to come home to her. Richard Kull recovered and did return home.
“As we get older, we look at the center as a secure place when you need help,” she said.
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