Butler County Times Gazette
  • Continuing fight on cancer

  • Foundation working to raise $1 million for Cancer Center
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  • Cancer touches many lives in one way or another. This makes cancer care an important topic and a concern of many. The Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital Foundation is in the middle of a new project, The Next Generation Fundraising Initiative, which hopes to raise $1 million for upgrades at the Cancer Center.
    “The Cancer Center opened in 2003,” said Gene Kimble, SBA marketing director. “When it opened we had the latest equipment available.”
    This includes an IMRT and CT sim unit, which was the first in the state at the time.
    “Through the 10 years we have done a number of software upgrades and aded a respiratory gating system,” Kimble said. “Through the 10 to 11 years, we have done as many software upgrades as we can do.”
    Now it is time to update the hardware. The updates are projected to cost $3 million plus and include a linear accelerator system for radiation treatment, treatment planning system that provides all the tools and options necessary to plan the course of radiation, a CT stimulation system for extensive imaging of the treatment site and an endowed fund to support technology and ongoing innovation in the future.
    “What the Hospital Board did was ask the Foundation to raise $1 million to help fund it,” Kimble said.
    The Foundation members were happy to help and under the leadership of Keri Myers, director of development, they began planning for their fundraising.
    “An important piece is what the Cancer Center initially proposed,” Myers said of the history of the center.
    Originally, it was proposed to be a philanthropic project, but there was no evolved program at that time and they wanted to get it done sooner than fundraising would allow. Although the Foundation was developed in 1977 it had not been active until recently. Mary Luebbert was hired in 2006 and began revitalizing the Foundation, getting policies in place and working with consultants. Then Myers came on board a year ago and took it to the next level.
    “We are looking at this project as an opportunity to bring philanthropy into the Cancer Center,” Myers said.
    They started the fundraising six months ago and have been in their “quiet phase” until recently. They are currently about halfway to their goal.
    Albert and Patty Hogoboom were announced as the honorary chairs, having donated $250,000 to the project.
    The Cancer Center and cancer treatment in general is important to the Hogobooms, with both having been affected by cancer.
    Albert lost his mother, father, wife and several members of her family, brother and son to cancer.
    “In fact I’m getting a bunch of cancer cut off me right now,” he said.
    Page 2 of 3 - In addition, Patty lost her husband and brother to cancer.
    Albert also served on the Hospital Board when the Cancer Center was built.
    “We’ve got a lot of people in El Dorado who have cancer,” he said. “It is handy (to have here). My son had to go to Wichita every day. By the time you drive over there and are really worn out after treatment then you have to drive home.”
    He said it was a great asset to the community.
    The Cancer Center does treat a number of patients. Every year, more than 4,000 radiation therapy procedures and 3,000 chemotherapy treatments are administered.
    The Cancer Center participates in the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) designed to engage community physicians in National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trials to assure that patients treated here have access to quality medical care using the latest research results available.  Last year more than 30 patients from the Cancer Center enrolled in the clinical trials offered.
    The center provides a full range of cancer care from diagnosis and biopsy to surgical procedure, radiation and chemotherapy. It also has partnerships with the Cancer Center of Kansas and Wichita Radiological Group. Patients come there from seven counties.
    The goal of this campaign is to engage the next generation of philanthropists to ensure the commitment to health care. Philanthropy was a part of the hospital from when Frank Allen started it with philanthropy.
    “It is our belief the Foundation is going to be a significant player in furthering the hospital’s mission,” Myers said.
    In addition to this current project, the Foundation also has helped continue development and offering opportunities to send employes to educational events, an area often cut as reimbursements in medical care get tighter.
    “Overall, as an organization we are stronger with donor involvement,” Myers said. “Our focus if finding the right fit for donors.
    “We have found the Cancer Center is a project that is very close to many people’s hearts.”
    The next major fundraising event will be the Foundation’s Gala IV on Sept. 26.
    The donors who give $5,000 or more will be recognized on a donor wall in the Cancer Center.
    “It is an opportunity for patients to see the community is involved with their care,” Myers said. “Donors are appreciated at all levels.”
    Gifts also can be made in memory or honor of someone.
    Those interested in donating can contact Myers at kmyers@bbamh.org or 316-321-8741 or send a gift directly to SBAMH Foundation, 720 W. Central Ave., El Dorado, KS 67042.
    Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.
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