WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Long before her name appeared on the front of the Women's and Children's Hospital at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Betty Cameron was making her mark on another part of the community in need of care.
In the 1970's, Mrs. Cameron started a group called Women in Action. The mission of the committee was to improve race relations in Wilmington.
"She was a pioneer in putting cornerstones down and the bridgeheads down to have bridges built," said her son, Bill Cameron.
Her children say she always had a passion for equality and being inclusive of people from all walks of life.
"I hope that she built some of the bridges that led to better relations in Wilmington," Bill Cameron said.
Mrs. Cameron's family gathered in the large kitchen of her home Tuesday night reminiscing about the matriarch.
Bill recalled the first patient at the hospital that bears her name.
"Funny story. She was the first patient in the women's center," Bill said. "She said do not put me in that hospital if I'm going to die. I'm not going to be the first person to die in that hospital," Bill said with a smile.
In 2008, the family donated $2 million to open the Betty H. Cameron Women's and Children's Hospital at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in her honor.
The hospital offers complete care for women and children in a family centered environment and provides premature or critically ill newborns access to the medical center's highly skilled neonatal team.
Dan Cameron, Betty's husband of 59 years, passed away in July 2005. He and his brother Bruce, who passed away in April 2013, owned WECT years ago. The Cameron brothers purchased the station in 1957 and changed the name to WECT. They operated the station until 1987.
"We are saddened by the loss of Betty Cameron, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family," said Jack Barto, President and CEO of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, in a statement. "The generosity she has shown to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and this community will continue to impact so many lives for generations to come.
We, like so many others, will always be grateful to Mrs. Cameron and her family. Her legacy continues through the thousands of families cared for at the Betty H. Cameron Women's & Children's Hospital."
Bill Cameron says what the family will miss most is gathering at her home and sharing good times.
"She had a great way of bringing people together," Bill said. "We will miss that."
Funeral services for Mrs. Cameron will be held Thursday at 1:00 at First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington.
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