CARBONDALE — Through the Hope is Home campaign, Southern Illinois Healthcare plans to create a local cancer center to help bring every-thing patients need a little closer to home.
The campaign was announced Friday at the SIH Foundation Dinner in the SIU Carbondale Student Center Ballrooms. The project will cost about $20 million and the SIH Board of Trustees is committed to $10 million while the foundation plans to raise another $10 million. Employees of SIH have already contributed about $300,000 through donations or optional pay deductions. A location has not been decided yet and no timetable was pre-sented.
More than 1,100 cancer patients were diagnosed and/or treated at SIH facilities but the organiza-tion hopes to have a center to provide centralized care to one facility, rather than making patients leave the comforts of the region.
The facility will have an academic affiliation with SIU Carbondale and its medical school in Springfield as well as the Simmons Cancer Institute in Springfield.
SIU Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng said in addition to benefitting local cancer patients, the institute can attract high-quality researchers. She said the university already has excellent research in fields such as ovarian and pros-tate cancer, and with the institute much more is possible.
Donors have already come forth and have donated between $1.5 million and $2 million toward the needed $10 million. Donors will have naming opportunities within the center and will also be recognized on a wall. The entrance lobby will be named after Rosemary Berkel Crisp and the registration area after Rex and Kathy Budde. Rex Budde is the president and CEO of SIH and a donor. There will also be a naming opportunity for the planned healing gardens.
Speakers at the event included Budde and Hope is Home Physician Co-Chairs Drs. Marsha Ryan and Terrence Glennon, who lost his father seven years ago to lung cancer and his mother just recently to lung and breast cancer. He said while his parents will not be able to benefit from the center, future patients will.
Ryan, surgeon at the Breast Center in Carbondale, said she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is now going through what so many other patients have experience at the Breast Center. She said when a team gets together and plans out a patient’s treatment and recovery there is an audible sigh of relief that can be heard with many of the patients. She said the SIH Cancer Center will help bring that relief to so many more cancer patients.
“You too will be deliv-ered into the hands of a team and you too will experience that feeling of palpable relief,” Ryan said.
Bart Millstead, administrator at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, called on people to donate to help make the center come to fruition and help bring more quality care to Southern Illinois.
“If we leave here and do nothing then we’ve failed in our efforts to make this cancer center a reality,” Millstead said.