Ron Berry collected friends like some people collect priceless antiques. Those same friends have carried on his memory over the last 26 years through an annual fundraising party they call the Cabin Fever Reliever.
Mr. Berry, a Marine Vietnam Veteran, returned to the Rock Hill area following his time serving in the military. Ron started a new career as an IT professional at Duke Energy, where he met some of the friends that went on to create the Cabin Fever Reliever. Whether he was hunting or fishing, Ron thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors. “Some of my favorite memories with Ron were the fishing trips we took to Lake Wateree,” said Bruce, one of Ron’s dearest friends.
Ron was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1980s. His core group of friends took turns driving him up to Duke University Hospital for treatment. As he battled the illness, they served as his support group. Through this experience, Ron became the link that connected the rest of the group. “Ron was the reason we all met one another,” said David. As Ron’s health continued to decline and the doctors ran out of treatment options, Ron’s friends knew they wanted to do something special for him. They planned a party with a live band and invited over 100 people to attend the inaugural Cabin Fever Reliever in late spring of 1994. Ron was able to enjoy one last celebration with the people that loved him most.
Towards the end of his journey, Hospice & Community Care provided care, comfort, and compassion for Ron at his home until he passed away on June 30th, 1994. “We were so pleased with the care they provided for Ron,” said one of his closest friends. Ron’s friends stayed by his side until his final breath.
After Ron passed away, this core group of friends decided to make the Cabin Fever Reliever an annual tradition in his memory. “It was a good time to get everyone back together,” said Bruce. The fundraising party consisted of horseshoe and cornhole tournaments, savory food, and plenty of reminiscing about the times they had with Ron. “We spent a lot of the time telling stories about our memories with Ron,” said Mack. Although the latest Cabin Fever Reliever events have been without live bands and large attendance numbers, the primary goals remain intact: remembering Ron Berry, gathering friends together, and giving back to Hospice & Community Care.
“We’ve seen firsthand the type of care and people Hospice & Community Care represents,” said Linda, Ron’s neighbor, and friend. Every year since 1994, Ron’s group of friends have continued to pay tribute to Ron and support Hospice & Community Care through their annual event. Their generous expression of care has been used to serve patients and families in our community.
Hospice & Community Care is very grateful to this generous group of friends, their wives, and all past and present attendees of the Cabin Fever Reliever for their gifts and continued support.