Patch Adams presents “Joy of Caring” at WFU benefit program

Patch AdamsPatch Adams, the physician and clown made famous by Robin Williams’ portrayal of him in the hit movie “Patch Adams,” will present “The Joy of Caring,” a benefit lecture on love and service at Wake Forest University Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. in Wait Chapel. Tickets are $12 and available at the Benson University Center Ticket Office.

The lecture, which is a Wake Forest theme-year event organized by Wake Forest junior Julie Koch to raise money for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and Adams’ Gesundheit Institute, will include a slide show of the Missionaries of Charity’s work in India, Adams’ lecture and a video presentation of Adams’ clowning work in Afghanistan.

All proceeds will benefit the two charities.

Adams has devoted 30 years to changing America’s healthcare system. He promotes the idea that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process and stresses that every individual, including those in healthcare, business and government, needs to put the care of others before economics.

Excited about coming to Wake Forest, Adams said, “People are always looking for government decrees to fix things, but Julia is the answer. People like Julia are holding the heartbeat of this country. She answers the question, ‘But what can one
person possibly do?’”

Koch, who volunteered at Kalighat, The Home for the Destitute and Dying, through Wake Forest’s City of Joy Scholar Program in 2002, came back from Calcutta with a passion to love and serve people as the Sisters demonstrated. It was while reading Adams’ book “Gesundheit!” that Koch began to think of ways to give back to the Sisters.

“As I read, I was struck more and more by the similarities between Dr. Patch Adams’ and Mother Teresa’s views on love and service—the same basic motive applies to each,” explained Koch.

The Missionaries of Charity, which was begun by Mother Teresa in 1948, are committed to serving the poorest of poor by taking in the destitute and the dying, caring for them and helping those about to pass on to do so with dignity.

The Gesundheit Institute was founded by Adams in 1971 and is a home-based medical practice in West Virginia that has provided free medical care to more than 15,000 patients. Adams travels around the world, speaking on humor and health, “funraising” versus fundraising and the joy of caring. He has shared his “laughter medicine” in such places as Israel and Palestine, Chile, Columbia, Uruguay and war-torn areas such as Afghanistan.

The event is part of Wake Forest’s theme year, “Fostering Dialogue: Civil Discourse in an Academic Community,” which is dedicated to exploring how free people with passionate interests and beliefs can communicate openly without turning dialogue into discord. It is sponsored by Wake Forest’s Benson University Center, the Pro-Humanitate Center, Residence Life and Housing, Student to Student (religious organization), the Volunteer Service Corps and the theme-year committee.

Tickets are available through the Benson University Center Ticket Office at 336-758-4265.

Donations may be made prior to the event by sending a check to the Student Development Office, Attn: Charidy Hight, 321 Benson University Center, P.O. Box 7454, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27109. Checks should be made out to Wake Forest University with a designation to Patch Adams or Missionaries of Charity in the memo line.

NOTE TO THE EDITOR: To arrange coverage, contact Pam Barrett at the News Service at or 336-758-5237.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events, Speakers