Upstate Medical University takes care of more than 10,000 people a year who live with cancer. These patients and their families have often had to go to different sites around the campus for treatment and other support. Now, they and the hope they represent are getting a new home. Our Kat De Maria tells us about the Upstate Cancer Center.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It may not look like much yet. But this is what the Upstate medical community is calling the future home of hope.
In a ceremony that included gifts of daffodils, a symbol of hope, hospital officials held a symbolic groundbreaking Tuesday for the new Upstate Cancer Center, a facility focusing on adult and child outpatient care.
"This will make it easier for a joint evaluation of patients, doctors can run up and down the stairs if a patient needs a sudden consult from another specialist without the barriers of distance and also the room so we can have special programs such as prevention programs and survivorship programs," said Dr. Leslie Kohman, Upstate Cancer Center Medical Director.
For Maureen Knopp, who worked in oncology for decades before becoming a cancer patient herself, she says it's critical to have resources like radiation and chemotherapy and also doctors from different disciplines all accessible to each other and to the people they're serving.
"That'll make it so much easier on the patients and the families who have questions, what does this mean, what's going to happen to me. And that sort of anxiety will be relieved by being able to have a lot of the answers given at the same time," Knopp said.
Along with all of the aspects of care, the cancer center will also include amenities, like a boutique, a healing garden and even a meditation center for patients and their families.
"Patients will know they matter. You're not just a number. You're not just a disease. But you're a person. You're going to need moral support. You're going to need to go in and by yourself a new hat or a new wig," said Knopp.
The Hartnett family spent nearly ten years in and out of Upstate. They say that kind of attention to patients' and families' needs is everything.
"For a facility to recognize that what these kids want and what these families want is just to be able to be normal, to do the things other people are doing and to keep their lives together as best they can," said Karen Harnett, a cancer survivor's mom.
...While still keeping up hope.
The nearly $75 million Upstate Cancer Center is being paid for through private bonding and a fundraising campaign. It's set to open in 2013.