Thanks to Nan Cameron’s Generosity, Patients like Kay Howden Can Learn About Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes runs in Kay’s family: Her mother, sister and two of her uncles all had the disease. Armed with that knowledge, Kay knew the importance of taking her health into her own hands.

“My doctor informed me my blood sugar levels were elevated, and I realized I needed to do something,” she says. “I got a flier about the Diabetes Prevention Program at Washington Health System and knew it was what I needed.”

Kay’s condition is increasingly common. One in three adults in the United States has prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, prediabetes management takes education, which is where the Diabetes Prevention Program can help patients like Kay lead healthier lives.


The Diabetes Education and Management Program was made possible by a generous donor: 93-year-old Nan Cameron, whose late husband, Wilfred R. “Pete” Cameron, was a dedicated leader in our community. Pete was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but the diagnosis came at a very late stage.

“We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, and by the time we knew, my husband was in bad shape,” Nan says. “Pete had to have a leg amputated because of diabetes. If we had found out sooner, that may not have had to happen.”

Since her husband’s diagnosis, education about diabetes prevention and management has made great advances. To ensure that members of her community had access to potentially lifesaving knowledge, Nan generously gifted the WHS Foundation with a designated fund, named the Wilfred R. Cameron Diabetic Education Fund, to sponsor the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Diabetes prevention classes are held at the WHS Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center, also named for Nan’s husband. Their generous donation of $5 million—the largest gift ever received—allowed the Wellness Center to be built.

“Pete and I were delighted to contribute,” Nan says. “We had just sold Cameron Coca-Cola, and we wanted to say thank you to our community for the many years they supported us.”

Currently, 14 people are taking advantage of the education Nan’s generous donation makes possible, including Kay.

“I would like to thank Nan for her gift,” Kay says. “I think it’s wonderful she provided this opportunity to people who need it.”


Since she has enrolled, Kay has learned how to make small, sustainable changes to better her health.

“One of my problems was I didn’t exercise enough,” Kay admits. “But now, I get up and walk around during commercial breaks when I watch TV. I learned to do that at the diabetes prevention class.”

Kay still has the flier she received about the program and keeps the handouts she receives at every class in a three-ring binder to study throughout the week.

“This program gives you the tools to help you be healthy,” Kay says. “If someone wants to take charge of their diabetes, this is the place to learn.”



Our donors’ generosity makes programs like the Diabetes Prevention Program at the Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center possible.

Gifts to the WHS Foundation help provide invaluable services to our community—and every little bit counts.

We offer several different ways to give to the WHS Foundation. We encourage you to find your way to give back to the health system and to your community.


  • alumni giving, which helps support our WHS School of Nursing and WHS Family Medicine Residency Program
  • commemorative giving, in honor or in memory of loved ones
  • the Corporate Giving Club, whose members sponsor our events or make annual contributions of $1,000 or more
  • Friends for All Seasons, whose members provide automatic monthly donations by EFT, credit or debit card
  • The Orchard Society, whose members provide annual gifts of $250 or more
  • The 1897 Society, whose members give $10,000 or more over three years
  • planned giving and bequests, to leave a legacy to benefit WHS after your lifetime

We’re thankful for every gift we receive. To make a donation or learn more about our giving options, visit