Peter and Heidi Huizenga

A generous donation will provide a helping hand — literally — to a busy cancer specialist at Loyola University Health System's (Loyola) Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. Peter and Heidi Huizenga’s $500,000 gift will fund a clinical oncology and translational research nurse to assist with patient care and cancer research. A portion of the Oak Brook couple’s funding also will be used toward cancer research conducted by Kathy Albain, MD.

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As a breast cancer survivor and patient of Dr. Albain, Mrs. Huizenga has seen first hand all the physician involvement that goes into complete patient care at Loyola. Her work with the cancer center's Visiting Committee, and many of the center’s activities, also have helped her realize the financial limitations that prevent hiring a staff member to manage the daily administrative, research and patient-care activities.

The new nurse will assist Dr. Albain and other medical oncologists at the CBCC as they enroll and follow their patients on cancer clinical trials. Some of the nurse’s responsibilities will include: providing chemotherapy training for patients, conducting phone checks on patients who have a change in regimen or major medications, monitoring physician action plans for each patient visit and overseeing tasks for post-clinic patient care.

The nurse also will attend clinical research program and continuing medical education meetings, assist in conducting in-house translational projects, track participants on clinical trials and monitor the status of new research proposals.

“The nurse will work hand-in-glove with me to enhance both day-to-day breast and lung cancer patient care and research endeavors,” said Dr. Albain.

The Huizengas are pleased to augment care at a cancer center that is already renowned for providing the latest in technology without neglecting the personal and spiritual needs of patients. “At some of the larger health-care institutions the personal aspect of patient care sometimes gets lost, but you can feel the personal care at Loyola,” Mr. Huizenga said. “Loyola is a wonderful hospital that provides excellent patient care, and we support it because we want that excellence to continue.”

By providing assistance with administrative tasks and patient care, the new nurse position will allow Dr. Albain to devote more time to research. “She does wonderful work, and we would like our gift to give her the tools she needs to further her practice,” said Mrs. Huizenga.

Dr. Albain is touched that a patient would make a donation to help existing cancer patients receive personalized care and fund research that could provide new treatments for future patients. “I was excited and extremely grateful that the Huizengas could see this real need and respond to it in a very generous way,” she said.

The Huizengas support several organizations and causes financially because they strongly believe in sharing their good fortune. “We don’t look at it as philanthropy, we look at it as stewardship,” said Mr. Huizenga. “We have been gifted and entrusted by God with financial resources, and we have an obligation to use these gifts not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of others in the community.”

For more information about how to support Loyola University Health System, contact the Office of Development at development@lumc.edu or call (708) 216-3201.

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Patient Gift Will Create New Nursing Position for Cancer Center