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The Giving Garden Foundation is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit, founded by four Gloucester residents on August 16th 2008 who have participated in numerous National Advocacy fundraising events and realized the dire need for cancer patient advocacy on a local level. Our mission is to provide financial assistance to cancer patients residing in Gloucester and Mathews Virginia and to bridge the gap between existing resources and patients' unmet needs by providing an online database of other local, state and national resources. 


While we are not medical professionals, we are the loved ones of those who have been affected by cancer.  Some have won their battles and sadly, many, have lost.  It is from these very personal experiences that we draw strength and commitment to helping our community in their time of need. No one should ever have to decide between keeping a roof over their head, lights on and food on the table or if they should pay for a prescription or treatment.  Nor should they be faced with these worries when they are facing the battle of their lifetime. 


Karin is employed full-time as the Director of Operations at a multifacility animal care organization.  She has held a seat on our Board since 2008


Her advocacy is in honor of her dad, Jim Garner, who passed away in July of 1999 following a hard and courageous battle against systemic ameyloidosis.  She has held a seat on our Board since our creation in 2008 and has served in all roles.

Karin (Garner) Fary


Allen (Al) LaRoche


Al LaRoche is a Communications Action Officer at Langley Air Force Base and 20+ year veteran of the United States Air Force.  Al formerly held a seat on our Board as Vice President and is responsible for the creation of our "Together we CAN advocate" recycling program.  He continues to collect cans from several locations and delivers them to the cottage at the Abingdon Ruritan Club, of which he is a member.  

Al lost both of his parents to cancer, his Mom being the most recent, after losing her battle against lung cancer in March of 2012


Stephanie is a Master Goldsmith, a member of the Abingdon Ruritan Club and has served several years as a judge at the Masters World Championship Scottish Highland Games. She formerly held a seat on our Board as Treasurer and is responsible for our success in being designated as a 501C3 nonprofit.  Stephanie continues to be a staunch supporter of The Giving Garden!


Her commitment to local advocacy is in honor of her husband Bob, who lost his courageous battle against lung cancer.  Stephanie also lost her father to cancer and her Mom is a 2x breast cancer survivor.

Stephanie Stewart


Melisa Weaver Wamsley


Melisa holds a degree in architecture and is the V.P. & Design Professional for Rave Design & Construction, a firm she owns with her husband Ray.  She formally held a seat on our Board  and was  responsible for the majority of our initial marketing.


Melisa was drawn to help establish this cause after watching her dad, Tom, face two battles against two different types of cancer (Stage III Melanoma & Invasive Bladder Cancer).  We are thrilled to share that Tom celebrated 8 years of Survivorship in June 2016!




Our Board of Directors is comprised of individuals who have committed to donating and dedicating their time, talents and skills to manage our Foundation. One of the driving principles behing the creation of the Giving Garden was to ensure that the majority of our proceeds go to actual patient assistance. 

Karin Fary

Co-Founder & President





Melanie Hamilton

Vice President

Heather L. Smith


Melissa Johnson





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