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VIProfile: Dr. Ty and Suzanne Prince



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By Gay Lyons with photography by Britt Cole

Ty and Suzanne Prince, co-chairs of the 2018 Hope Gala to benefit the American Cancer Society, agree it’s important to give back.

“I grew up in Knoxville,” said Ty. “My dad was the pastor at West Hills Baptist Church. My mother taught at West Hills School. I was a paramedic before going to medical school.”

After graduating from UT, Ty attended medical school in Memphis and returned to Knoxville in 1995. He considered emergency medicine, but in 1995, he joined the Allergy, Asthma, Sinus Center.

“A lot of people helped me along the way,” he said, “so I have a lot to give back.”

“I grew up in Mobile, Alabama,” said Suzanne. “After graduating from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, I had jobs in pharmaceutical sales in New Orleans and Nashville before moving to Knoxville in 2003. I quit my job two years ago, and I’ve filled my time with volunteer work. My dad set the example for giving back. I was taught, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’”

Ty and Suzanne met in 2012 through a mutual friend and married in 2013. The family includes Ty’s sons Jack, age 25, and Taylor, age 26; Suzanne’s son Harper is 11.

Suzanne’s involvement with the Hope Gala began two years ago. “I was on the Hope Gala committee when Dick [Brower] and Sharon [Bailey] chaired it,” said Suzanne. “They really raised the bar. And then, of course, Mark and Meredith [Overholt] did a great job last year.”

“I liked the event,” she continued. “It raises awareness for local programs. I think there’s a misunderstanding that all the money goes to national programs and research. There’s also funding for local programs. One program provides the first head covering or wig for free.

There’s a make-up and skin care tutorial. There are free rides to treatment. There’s the Hope Lodge where patients and families can stay for free. People writing a small check may feel like a $25 check doesn’t do anything, but it does.”

“When people tell you they have cancer, you say ‘let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,’” said Ty. “And you probably can’t [help them], but I can help by supporting the American Cancer Society.

“I work with patients who’ve survived cancer, whose immune systems are weak. Immunology is an important part of my practice. We have more patients on gamma globulin to boost their immune systems than any other private practice in the country.”

“When I was asked if we would be co-chairs of the Gala, I thought Ty would say no,” said Suzanne, “but he said yes right away.”

“She does all the work, so it was really her decision, not mine,” insisted Ty. “My parents sacrificed to give me every advantage,” said Suzanne. “I always had a network, a support system. I like to give back, to be a support system for someone else. I appreciate that I can give back. I’ll never be able to repay it all, but I’m trying.”

“Ty’s father passed away from lung cancer,” she continued. “My parents’ first child died at 19 months from an ocular nerve tumor. Ty’s sister’s husband is fighting lymphoma now. There’s probably no one who in the country who can’t make a list of people they know who’ve had cancer.”

“Saying yes to being co-chairs was an easy decision,” said Suzanne. “We really tried to feed off the energy of Mark and Meredith last year.”

“We wanted old world elegance. Sam Franklin is doing flowers--whites and greens. He suggested black linens. We love jazz, so the Streamliners are playing.

We’re having a four course dinner with wine pairings selected by Rob Petrone. We’re having an After Party for the first time.

“We’re auctioning off a Maserati, courtesy of Harper Auto. Bennett donated ‘an evening in the gallery.’ Kimball’s donated one-of-a-kind pieces.”

“We got to pick the honorees,” she continued. “That was the hardest part. We ended up choosing people we connected with: Dr. Raymond Brig, Baby Hugo with Marianne Canada, Jeff Jacoby and Leslie Smith Myers

“Working on the Gala has been fun,” said Suzanne. “I love events. I love trying to figure out how to make more money. If we hit or exceed our goal, it’s going to mean so much to me.”

“The previous chairs have been helpful,” said Ty. “They have shared secrets and connections. That will clearly have an impact.”

“I’m going to be sad [the day afterwards],” said Suzanne. “We’ll step back for a while, but we’ll definitely stay involved.”

 

Hope Gala Menu

Passed Appetizers
~ Wrapped asparagus with herbed goat cheese, puff pastry
shrimp & grits bite, assortment of bruschettas

1st Course
~ Wedge salad

2nd Course
~ Petite filet with mushroom demiglace, parmesan haricot
vert, mashed potatoes

3rd Course
~ Artisan cheese board

4th Course
~ Chocolate ganache cake with fresh whipped cream
and raspberry

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