Nestled in a park-like setting of an estate in Hillsborough, California, you will find the heart and soul of the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Health Luncheon and Lecture, Carole Middleton. For the last 15 years, Carole has been an ardent and generous supporter of this annual community event. Seeing it grow from 120 guests to close to 1,000 patrons in recent years, Carole is proud to be able to present some of the brightest minds in healthcare and experts on health-related topics to the community.
“I am moved and motivated by the fantastic support the community shows every year, when nearly 1,000 people — mostly women and a few brave men — come together to give generously to Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation and the Women’s Center,” Carole says. “We help fund cancer screenings for underserved populations in our community and raise money to bring innovative technologies and programs to everyone in our region.”
Carole fondly recalls how speakers at these events have also touched participants by teaching valuable lessons and sharing memorable moments. For example, journalist Linda Ellerbee spoke candidly about how she retained her self-esteem while battling breast cancer. Former California First Lady Maria Shriver talked about her father’s difficult and painful journey with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our incredible speakers consistently provide important medical advice and health knowledge for attendees,” Carole says. “But more often it is the relatable life lessons and emotional components of the keynote speakers that leave an indelible impression on me.”
A Community Tradition Since 2001
Each year, sponsors and attendees of the Women’s Health Luncheon and Lecture help the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center make advanced and impactful technologies such as 3D mammography, tomographic-guided 3D biopsy units, SAVI SCOUT wireless localization procedures and dedicated breast ultrasound units available to the community. Funds to support underinsured and underserved women have helped pay for hundreds of free community screenings, along with thousands of biopsies and breast ultrasound procedures.
Countless community volunteers join employees and physicians, Foundation board members and prominent business leaders in an uplifting annual celebration to support and bring the most advanced technologies to the Peninsula.
“This event has been such an important part of my life for so many years, working with so many dedicated volunteers,” Carole beams. “I have met life-long friends through the Women’s Health Luncheon and Lecture, as well as some of my philanthropic role models in other generous Mills-Peninsula supporters, such as Peggy Bort Jones and Zelda Levin.”
Carole became a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees in 2013, a position she continues to hold. Not only is she a driving force behind the luncheon, she regularly opens her home to smaller educational events for community members interested in healthcare.
“Being on the board has been an education in medical progress and the technological innovations rapidly occurring in our hospital,” Carole says. “This motivates me to share these ideas with others and inspires me to designate gifts beyond the luncheon for projects such as the Mobile Stroke Unit and the Biobank.”
By way of background, the Sutter Health Biobank is one of the largest efforts initiated by a U.S. health system to link electronic health record data with genetic and health information. It will enable researchers to better study disease progression in order to offer more personalized treatments over time. The Biobank began accepting participants in 2018.
A Lifetime of Caring and a Commitment to Service
Carole was born in New York and raised in Connecticut. She received a nursing degree from Grace-New Haven School of Nursing at Yale Medical Center, and worked in New York for famed cardiologist Robert Atkins M.D., creator of the Atkins diet. Carole later moved to California, where she earned a Family Planning Nurse Practitioner degree from San Jose State University. For a short time, she worked as a surgical and OB- GYN nurse at Mills-Peninsula Hospital, before eventually retiring from her nursing career to focus on raising her three children.
“I raised my family in San Mateo and Hillsborough, and it is important to me that our community has a first-class medical facility for all of its residents,” Carole says. “It is my true love to support the good works of the Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation and the Women’s Center.”
To that end, Carole has also included the Foundation in her estate plan so she can continue to support healthcare in the community for generations to come. Carole is inspired to partner with organizations that exude passion like her own. In addition to her dedication to Mills- Peninsula, she helps many other health-related organizations in the community.
For example, Carole is on the executive board of Caminar, a 50-year-old community-based agency that provides support services to individuals with mental health disorders. She also supports GatePath, which serves children, youth and adults with special needs and developmental disabilities, and Samaritan House, an organization that provides resources for the underserved in San Mateo County.
Carole was recently invited by Maria Shriver to join the Leadership Council for the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. She also participates in the Bay Area Committee for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
When Carole is not advocating for healthcare in her community, she enjoys promoting the arts. She supports an innovative theater troupe in Santa Monica that conducts outreach programs for hospitalized children. Most recently, she has gotten involved with Jazz at the Ballroom, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to showcasing and promoting American jazz artists and fostering music and arts in Bay Area schools.
“This is possibly the hottest ticket in Hillsborough at the moment,” Carole says. “It’s a series of world-class jazz concerts held at a home once owned by Bing Crosby and raises funds for music education. It’s truly fantastic.”
Community philanthropy such as the support from Carole Middleton has allowed Mills-Peninsula to differentiate itself by bringing cutting-edge technologies and programs to the area and supporting national clinical research trials.
“I often tell my friends and acquaintances that if they are ever in need of hospital care, Mills-Peninsula offers world-class care in a beautifully designed facility,” says Carole. “What more could we ask for?”