Marlborough – By mid-2013, residents of Marlborough and the surrounding communities who must seek treatments related to a cancer diagnosis will not have to travel to Boston. They will be able to instead get full services, including chemotherapy and radiology, at the soon-to-be-built Cancer Pavilion at Marlborough Hospital.
Over 100 officials, supporters and staff of the Hospital gathered at the facility Jan. 19 to celebrate the ground-breaking for the pavilion.
The new center, slated to open in the spring of 2013, will feature an array of services, including medical oncology, radiation therapy and access to clinical trials. There will also be multi-disciplinary conference rooms for patient clinical review, educational space and a “healing garden.” Officials anticipate the 14,500-square-foot center will have close to 3,100 medical visits and 4,283 radiation oncology visits in the first year.
The project's cost is estimated at $12.7 million. A capital campaign to raise $1.5 million started in November 2011, with the remaining $11.7 million to be funded by UMass Memorial Health Care.
The first part of the ground-breaking ceremony took place outside on the north side of the hospital where the new center will be built. Karen Moore, MS, FACHE, who joined the hospital as president and CEO in late November 2011, welcomed those gathered, including many staff members whom she lauded as instrumental in the facility's success. State officials, U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D- 3rd District, and Niki Tsongas, D-5th District, and the city's officials were also supportive, she added.
Neil Ferris, the chair of the Capital Campaign, said the new center will be a “beacon of hope to so many. There will be world-class treatment all under one roof.”
Ferris also acknowledged former President and CEO John Polanowicz, who he said “transformed the hospital into what it is today.” Polanowicz was with the hospital from 2003 to April 2011 before accepting a job as president and CEO of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton.
McGovern echoed those thoughts.
“The hospital's leadership and staff are the best in the country,” he said. “I am proud to have this hospital in my district. It's been a privilege to see the legacy of top-notch patient care continue. This facility will continue to be a blessing – a true beacon of hope. It's going to be something incredible, special and compassionate.”
Arthur Vigeant, who recently became the city's new mayor after serving 18 years on the City Council, received a laugh from the audience when he noted, “This is where it all began for me 54 years ago.”
Turning serious, Vigeant noted that when the project first came before the City Council, officials felt it important to expedite the special permit approval process, because of how the new center would ultimately benefit the city's residents.
Michael Blute, MD, is the director of the UMass Memorial Health Care Cancer Center of Excellence. He shared some sobering statistics with the audience.
“There's a huge demographic wave in cancer. It's mostly age-related – most cases are first found in those ages 60 or over,” he said. “By 2030 there will be 80 million people with cancer.
“We need to find a way to take care of these people in a cost-effective way. This [center] may be a blueprint of the future. It's a big day. We'se breaking the ice.”
(All photos/Bonnie Adams)