The Foundation of Mon General Hospital announced May 22 that it has raised the $7 million needed to establish a leading-edge radiation oncology center at the Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center at Mon General Hospital in Morgantown.
"Through cash and pledges made to the foundation, our patients and our community will benefit from state-of-the-art radiation oncology treatment here at Mon General Hospital," said hospital Medical Director Dr. Brian Hawthorne.
Hawthorne said some of the funds will be used for a minor expansion at the hospital to house the center, but most of it will be spent to pay for state-of-the-art radiation equipment.
The foundation contribution means the hospital will not incur any new debt or raise prices to cover the costs, Hawthorne said. He thanked Paul Kapnicky, vice-chair of the Mon General Foundation, for the generous contribution. "This is a great day for cancer patients and their families," he said.
Kapnicky knows firsthand the impact cancer can have on a family. His first wife passed away from the disease and it led him to establish a golf tournament that over the past 11 years has raised more than $250,000 for the foundation.
"As someone who has experienced cancer treatment from the family side, I know how important the addition of this facility will be for cancer patients, their family and the community," said Kapnicky.
Cancer care consists of three main therapies, said center Medical Director Dr. John Azar: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Mon General already provides surgery and chemotherapy services. The new radiation therapy center will complete the hospital's comprehensive cancer care. Radiation therapy uses targeted energy to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors and provide relief of certain cancer-related symptoms.
Hawthorne said hospital will submit its Certificate of Need to the West Virginia Health Care Authority. He says he hopes to break ground on the new facility by August and have it open and providing care in early 2014.