Recent generous gifts will help complete an ambitious $15 million redesign and renovation of Loyola University Hospital’s Oncology Acute Care Center for in-patient cancer treatment, creating a new environment to “go beyond the illness to treat the whole person.”
The Coleman Foundation, based in Chicago, has announced a $2 million challenge grant to support the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, one of the four wings of the Oncology Acute Care Center of Loyola University Hospital. It will be devoted to bone marrow transplant patients and their families.
The Coleman Foundation challenge grant is intended to encourage private donations for the project. The Foundation will match gifts on a dollar for dollar basis, up to $2 million, through August 2010. The Foundation, a longtime supporter of Loyola’s cancer care program, is interested in cancer treatments and improving local access to high quality care through direct patient services. Believing that psychosocial support and information are important components of good medical care, the Foundation previously funded The Coleman Foundation Image Renewal Center at Loyola where patients utilize a wide range of services designed to help them revitalize their self-image in a comfortable and relaxing setting.
The Foundation also established the Coleman Professorship in Oncology, held by Patrick Stiff, MD, director of Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. Dr. Stiff is among the first researchers to use umbilical cord blood stem cells for treatment of certain adult cancers, which is particularly useful for patients who require an unrelated transplant donor. When patients receive high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to kill cancer cells, the immune system cells are also destroyed in the process. Bone marrow or umbilical cord blood cells can help the patient develop new immune cells.
The Foundation has begun exploring ways to increase donations of umbilical cord blood. “Cord blood is largely a wasted resource right now,” said Michael Hennessy, president and CEO of The Coleman Foundation. “We are interested in encouraging practical applications that most positively impact the lives of those living with cancer.”
Bone marrow transplant treatment often involves hospital stays of three weeks or more and is stressful for both patients and their families. Redesign and renovation of the wing, which will be named The Coleman Foundation Bone Marrow Transplant Center, will provide 39 private patient rooms; a group exercise room; a meditation room and a family room where family members can cook meals, watch movies, attend support group meetings and celebrate important life events.
When she learned of Loyola’s new plans, Moira Minielly, an eight-year cancer survivor, said: “While in treatment, I wanted to be more than a passive recipient of chemo and radiation. I wanted a sense of control back in my life. I sought ways to improve my physical and mental well-being — what a luxury it would have been to have it all within my reach at the hospital facilities! Through this grant, patients now will be offered both a sense of calm and empowerment to make a difference in their treatment and survival. They will have the opportunity to regain a feeling of control in their ‘surreal’ life.”
“With the generous support of The Coleman Foundation and other donors, we will be able to create an environment that supports care of the mind, body and spirit for patients like Moira and their families,” said Dr. Stiff.
The desire to leave a legacy that honors Loyola’s preeminence in treating some of the most critically ill patients inspired a generous individual donor. The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, made a $5 million bequest with no restrictions, to be dedicated to the highest and best use at the medical center. Loyola leadership decided it would be a fitting use of the gift to commit the funds to improvement of the Oncology Acute Care Center in order to better serve cancer patients. Together with a previous $5 million gift from the Donald P. and Byrd M. Kelly Foundation, the donor’s gift makes this possible.
“As knowledge and technology develop and treatment facilities grow outdated, we need to bring them in line with our patients’ expectations and needs,” said Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, president and CEO, Loyola University Health System. “These three gifts will go a very long way in helping us to do that.”
If you are interested in giving toward The Coleman Foundation challenge grant, contact the Office of Development at (708) 216-3201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.