Greenville entrepreneur Vivian Wong and French-based Cérélia Group teamed up on Tuesday to donate $100,000 to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in the Upstate to support pediatric cancer programs.
The gift comes at the start of September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
For Vivian Wong, mother of four children, grandmother of eight and long-time community leader, the gift was a way to give back to the community that had welcomed her more than 50 years ago.
“It’s always important to me to give back – but especially when I have an opportunity to help children and families affected by cancer,” said Wong. “I know what a difference quick treatment and support can make for families. I also know that Greenville is the best place to live as far as I’m concerned. I just want to help it be even better and help Prisma Health continue providing outstanding care to its patients, especially in these current times.”
Wong, with her husband Thomas Wong, built a family business that began with the Dragon Den chain of restaurants and grew to include real estate development, banking and international business ventures. She’s become an entrepreneur, community luminary and philanthropist.
The donation is split between her own gift of $50,000 and a matching gift of $50,000 from Cérélia Group, which recently purchased US Waffle company from a shareholder base in which Wong was a managing partner.
Cérélia is a leading manufacturer of fresh, ready-to-bake dough solutions for pie and pizza, as well as ready-to-heat pancakes, crepes, cookies and cookie dough. US Waffle, which specializes in the production of premium pancakes and waffles, is expected to help build Cérélia into one of North America’s fastest growing bakery businesses. The Paris, France-based Cérélia has manufacturing plants throughout the world and is focusing tremendous capital investments in the Upstate of S.C. to grow their business.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this community and want to help support it,” said Cérélia Group co-CEO Walter Kluit. “Cérélia is looking forward to expanding their presence in the United States and appreciates the warm welcome they have received from South Carolina.” Both he and co-CEO Guillaume Réveilhac attended Tuesday’s announcement.
Parents Ian and Mary Ellen Bradley, who are friends of the Wong family and attended the event, know firsthand how important pediatric cancer treatment can be. In September 2010, their three-year-old son Elliott was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an extremely aggressive cancer, and received months of intense chemotherapy treatment. Now 14 and taller than his father, he is cancer free and is considering majoring in architecture in college.
“We’re extremely grateful to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital for its extraordinary care of our son and hope this donation sparked by Vivian Wong will help prompt additional pediatric cancer support that may help other families in need,” said Ian Bradley. “That initial diagnosis was one of the worst days of our lives, but we were able to come through it with support from our care teams, friends and community.”