The Ruterus campaign, which supports the UNC Horizons Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, has now contributed more than $10,000 to the program.

In December 2016, Deborah Privette of UNC Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery turned an inspired holiday idea – placing a red dot on an image of the female reproductive system to transform it into a pink Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – into an annual campaign to raise money for UNC Horizons, a treatment program for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders and their children.

The first year was a surprise success, taking off on social media and through word-of-mouth. By the second year, entire offices were ordering Ruterus shirts for their staff to wear during the holidays.

This year orders for Ruterus shirts arrived from 42 states of the union, which means Ruterus, and what the campaign stands for, is represented in 84 percent of states across America.

Privette says that Ruterus started as something fun and silly for her division to wear at the 2016 UNC OB-GYN holiday party, but it quickly morphed into something short of amazing.

“After struggling through a year of personal hardships in 2016, I saw this design as an opportunity to bring a little light and humor into my world,” she says. “Once I saw how well-received Ruterus was within the department, I immediately knew that it could be something more.”

Privette says UNC Horizons has been close to her heart since she began working in the UNC OB-GYN clinics. She quickly learned about the important work of UNC Horizons and the dedication they have to their patients.

“Once I became a mother and learned how difficult being a parent can be, my admiration grew even stronger,” she says.

“I am proud to be able to use Ruterus to draw attention to the valuable services that Horizons provides, and I am humbled by the success of this campaign, which I hope continues for many years to come. I am grateful to my family, friends and colleagues for their ongoing support. But, most of all, I am thankful for the faculty and staff of the UNC Horizons program and the amazing work they do every day to heal, strengthen and empower women.”

UNC Horizons Executive Director Dr. Hendrée Jones says Privette’s work is changing the lives of others.

“Our team at Horizons is so thankful for Deb,” she says. “She is a creative and generous light in the world to help women and children heal from the radiating aspects of substance use disorders. Her generous gifts have been used to fund children in the daycare so that they have safe and loving care each day. Her funding helps change the trajectory of children and perhaps even their children too.”