DANSVILLE — The Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center held a special dedication ceremony to honor those who have believed in this journey.
On March 4 a special ceremony took place at UR Medicine/Noyes Health to recognize the generous donation given by Ann and Carl Myers to kick-off this state-of-the-art regional cancer center. The UR Medicine/ Noyes Health, UR Medicine/ Jones Memorial Hospital, Ur Medicine, Wilmot Cancer Institute, state and local officials, and community members were invited.
UR Medicine/Noyes Health CEO Amy Pollard thanked all of the people responsible for turning this dream into a reality.
“I would like to recognize and thank those who have made this day possible,” she said. “A project like this starts with a vision, and Dr. (Jonathan) Friedberg had the vision of delivering cancer care to our region. It has been a wonderful concept for our community. To move this vision into reality the next step was to secure financial backing. Phil Saunders got a group of his friends together one snowy evening, and said to them ‘let’s make this happen.’ Ann and Carl Myers committed to being the lead donors.”
UR Medicine/Jones Memorial Hospital CEO Eva Benedict thanked Phil Saunders and Ann and Carl Myers for their generous donations.
“I want to thank everyone for their generous donations that have come from both communities. This is a marvelous facility, and it has advanced cancer care in our region,” she said. “ In Wellsville we are very excited about the expansion of medical oncology services. Our patients will be able to receive state-of-the-art cancer care closer to their homes. They will have a more comfortable setting for the care they so desperately need. We are thrilled in Wellsville and at Jones Memorial for being a part of this project.”
UR Medicine CEO Marc Taubman said it has been a wonderful adventure.
“Inside here the sun is shining very bright. We are embarking on a wonderful adventure, which has been in conception for a number of years,” he said. “I want to extend my thanks to everybody who has been involved in this great collaboration. The University of Rochester has two goals; one is to make sure you never have to leave Western New York to get the best care no matter what disease you have; two and the most important is that they can get treated as close to home as possible. We want them to still get that high quality care close to home.”
Taubman added that he hopes this will become a national model.
“The Southern Tier in particular has some challenges. As health care evolves we are seeing more and more patients being treated in the out patients side versus the in patient side,” he said. “This requires a solution that provides regional care. We have created a health care system that is evolving more to take care of people in smaller areas. This is an example of a model that we hope will be a national one.”
Wilmot Cancer Institute Dr. Jonathan Friedberg said this cancer center is his favorite project.
“There are many aspects of this project that have been exciting, and it is nice to see a project come to fruition,” he said. “It has been deeply moving to see the community support around this project. It really helped me demonstrate the impact of what we do. We have made a lot of progress since this project was envisioned. We have really expanded services already in the two years since we announced this project.”
Friedberg said there has been a significant increase in cancer care.
“We have already had 216 medical oncology visits since opening the cancer center. That is a 10 percent increase,” he said. “We have seen significant growth in radiation oncology. We have had 19 patients here for radiation oncology. We will have eight more by next week. We have brought 25 medical and radiation oncology jobs to the region. This is just the beginning.”
Friedberg mentioned there will be a cancer prevention education service in Nunda.
“We are not going to walk away and say ‘here is the keys to this nice new facility .. we are done.’ We have a lot of ideas. Just this month we are planning to launch a cancer prevention education series with the Livingston County Department of Health,” he said. “This is part of a broader initiative that we have to be the leader in cancer prevention for the whole region. We are working with Jones Memorial Hospital to create an infusion. The most important thing we are doing is continuing to build our research in Rochester. The best cancer care happens because of our investment in research.”
Carl Myers said he has been in favor of this project since the very beginning.
“It seems like yesterday when we had that meeting, and I remember that night very well. I told Ann it looks like it is on us to be the main donors, and she told me ‘why not? We can afford it’ She was the big go getter behind this,” he said. “You do many things in life, but this is the one thing that I have done that I feel the greatest about. I know Ann feels the same way. There is nothing like this facility, and this area is in dire need. I am very proud to be a part of it.”
Sen. Catharine Young said she is very grateful to part of this fantastic day in our history. She is very proud of Pollard and Benedict for their leadership in this project.
“I want to thank the dream team,” she said. “The dream team is the team of Phil Saunders, Dr. (Jonathan) Friedberg, Jon Shay, and Carl and Ann Myers that had a vision as to what could happen here, and I can’t think of a better dream team, because when they get together great things happen. They are movers and shakers in our community. Most of all they had that deep generosity and caring spirit that really makes a difference. Ann and Carl are touching so many lives with what they have accomplished here. Think about the impact and it is profound.”
“The three words people never want to hear are ‘you have cancer’ and when you hear those words it starts a whole wave of emotion,” Young continued. “It causes stress, fear, grief, uncertainty, and hopelessness. You really need to have some kind of beacon to give you hope, and that is what the cancer center is doing. I personally have someone that is very close to me in Dansville that has just been diagnosed with cancer, and I know she will be able to get good care right at home. I believe with all of my heart that I am lucky enough to represent the best part of New York.”
Assemblyman Joseph Errigo said he wanted to focus on Ann and Carl Myers. He handed them a citation from his office.
“The dedication of Ann and Carl Myers marks a realization of Wilmot Cancer Institute, Noyes Health, and Jones Memorial to serve as a regional hub for cancer care,” he said. “This is unique to our region and assures special services with overall care. You no longer need to travel to Rochester for state-of-the-art treatment. You people have done a great job putting this all together.”