Skip to main content
Foundation story

Steps away from life-saving treatment and connection

Published on Wednesday October 4, 2023
Jill Layne

Your gifts helped Jill access lodging and care for cancer.

During her treatment for breast cancer, Jill Layne found an unexpected home away from home and meaningful connection with many warm and compassionate Caregivers.  

“When I found out I was going to have radiation every day, I knew it would be too much for me to make the drive,” she said. “My car isn’t dependable, and I struggle with anxiety.”

The Rosemary & George Dawson Inn seemed to Jill to be an answer to prayer. 

“My treatment was covered and so was my stay,” she said. “I was able to walk right over to Pearson. I can’t say enough good things about the people and the care. Words will never adequately express how very grateful I am to everyone for everything."

Generosity helped to make both Centra Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center and Dawson Inn a reality for patients and families. Pearson Cancer Center opened in 2008, filling a desperate need for central Virginia. 

The 20-room Dawson Inn opened in 2012 to provide affordable lodging to patients, or family and friends of patients, who are receiving medical care at any Centra location. It is close to both Pearson Cancer Center and Centra Lynchburg General Hospital. 

The Centra Foundation manages a variety of funds and endowments, including the Greatest Need Fund, to ensure excellent care for anyone in our communities, regardless of ability to pay.

For Jill, healing came not only in the form of life-saving surgery and radiation, but Caregivers who “became like family.”

“I don’t want to say I’m happy I had cancer, but it’s gone now,” she said. “In some ways, it has been one blessing after another.”

She became so comfortable at the Inn that people would sometimes ask if she worked there. 

“They let you bake in the kitchen,” she said. “Sue, the manager, helped me with a quilt I’m working on. We would sit at the table together and talk about life. And I helped them make gnomes that they sell at the front desk. During those times, I knew I was going to miss the place and the people.”

On her last day at Dawson Inn in September, a beautiful blue-sky day, she walked over to Pearson Cancer Center for her final appointment – and to ring the bell signaling that she was finished with treatment and cancer free. 

But she didn’t do it alone. Caregivers from both Pearson Cancer Center and Dawson Inn were there with her to cheer her on and offer support.


Jill Layne and Caregivers


Your generosity helps patients like Jill access services and the care they need

Make a gift