Thanks to the generosity of employees, physicians, board members and others, the effort to raise money to build the new CAMC cancer center recently reached $10 million. That includes about $560,000 from CAMC employees to kick start the campaign.
"We have been humbled by the generosity," CAMC Foundation President Gail Pitchford said. "Sixteen thousand of the $560,000 came after the matching gift was announced. People would say, 'Here's my check for $100 because I know it will be $200 now.'"
"Employees from every department and every employment level have contributed," Pitchford said. "It is gratifying and humbling at the same time."
The healing garden inside the new center will be named in honor of all CAMC employees as a tribute to their fundraising efforts.
The campaign's theme, "The Power of Many," represents the many needs of the community, the many patients being treated for cancer and the many donors needed to make this dream a reality.
This project will allow CAMC to build on a long tradition of quality cancer care in Charleston.
For more than 60 years, cancer services in Charleston have been accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Before the creation of Charleston Area Medical Center, care was provided at Charleston Memorial Hospital.
CAMC's cancer program has been accredited by the American College of Surgeon's Commission on Cancer program since 1980.
This tradition of quality cancer care lives on today at the David Lee Cancer Center on the CAMC Memorial Hospital campus. But there's a problem: the number of patients continue to grow faster than available space.
If current trends continue, DLCC expects to treat about 34,000 patients in 2017, nearly double the number it saw in 2004.
There is a need in southern West Virginia for comprehensive outpatient cancer care based on an increase in cancer, both regionally and across the United States.
Even with recent renovations, the David Lee Cancer Center has major space constraints.
Administrators believe this comprehensive, consolidated and freestanding outpatient cancer center will bring hospitals, physicians, allied health professionals and communities together to provide quality and convenient care.
The estimated cost is more than $39 million. It will be built on the old Watt Powell Park property, a vacant lot across the street from CAMC Memorial Hospital. The building will be three floors and will include street level parking (no garage). The exact floor plans are not complete.
"CAMC has the busiest cancer center in West Virginia - we have more new patients each year and more research protocols than any other hospital in the state," said CAMC President and CEO David Ramsey. "We expect oncology patient volume at CAMC to grow significantly in the years ahead, largely due to our state's aging population and concentration of Baby Boomers."
To meet the soaring patient need, two new oncologists joined the DLCC in 2010 with an additional oncologist scheduled to arrive in 2013. However, there is no additional office space or patient treatment space in the current facility to accommodate the new physicians. Right now demand is outpacing capacity.
"The new center will move many ambulatory cancer patients off-site, creating significantly more capacity for other services on the Memorial campus," said Jeff Goode, vice president, CAMC Ambulatory Services. "We will have the ability to provide regular multi-disciplinary clinics in one location to streamline both diagnosis and treatment."
Many cancer and cancer-related services will be more effectively and efficiently served by the new center including: radiation oncology, medical oncology, oncological surgery office space, clinical trials and an infusion center.
Additionally, CAMC expects to cut patient wait times, add more infusion bays, add four new linear accelerator vaults and space for additional physician offices and exam rooms.
The outpatient center will allow for improved patient experience through a soothing atmosphere that will imbue the center with "life" with features that include: an open, light-filled environment; multiple, comfortable waiting areas; family and community meeting space; patient reference library; coffee shop and/or café; wig and prosthesis shop; and healing garden.
To become part of "The Power of Many," and join CAMC in helping to build the cancer center of tomorrow, visit camcfoundation.org.