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State Jaycees Commit $1 Million to Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- The Jaycees of North Carolina, a state-wide, 100-chapter civic organization, has committed $1 million to the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center to support the expansion of the Jaycee-sponsored outpatient chemotherapy treatment room located in the Morris Cancer Clinics, a facility that serves thousands of cancer outpatients each year.

Duke University President Nannerl O. Keohane announced the gift Thursday.

"We at Duke are very pleased with this $1 million commitment. We're also impressed by the way the Jaycees have kept on top of this ongoing project and stepped in whenever patients' needs became acute," Keohane said. "The Jaycees' creed is 'Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life.' They've made this creed a reality for many grateful patients and their families here."

Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of Duke University Health System, praised the passion and energy that the Jaycees use to bring about positive change.

"This generosity illustrates community spirit at its finest," Snyderman said. "As a result, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy here will have comfortable surroundings during intravenous procedures, some of which can last for 12 hours or more. When you consider that the Jaycees do this great work and hold down full-time jobs at the same time, their gift is all the more appreciated."

The $1 million commitment will help fund the second expansion of the cancer treatment room. The present facility, opened in 1996, is the product of a three-year Jaycee fund-raising effort that began with a $200,000 gift in 1993. It now includes a well-appointed waiting room in addition to the 6,150-square-foot treatment area itself.

The Outpatient Treatment Facility provides comfortable surroundings for chemotherapy patients, and features beds, reclining lounge chairs, personal television sets, floor-to-ceiling windows, painted ceiling tiles and privacy alcoves. The first two years saw more than 36,000 patients come through the doors.

A huge increase in the number of chemotherapy patients, representing nearly 100,000 visits to Duke's outpatient clinics per year, has stressed existing resources. On some days, 128 patients come to a facility designed to accommodate 60. As a result, overflow patients must receive treatments sitting on hard chairs in the hallways.

"The Jaycees are never content to rest on their laurels," said Mike Woodard, president of the North Carolina Jaycees. "We remain very much involved in our projects on a daily basis. We soon became aware that, after only a few years, the patient volume began stressing even the new facility. So we got all our chapters - more than 100 of them - to add to the original gift and make a pledge that'll make a million-dollar gift a reality.

"We believe, and this has been confirmed by physicians, that the psychological well-being of a patient has a positive impact on recovery. By helping to make visits less stressful for patients and their families, we're helping the healing process. Bright, comfortable, cheerful environments are extremely important. The patients deserve nothing less. So, we've extended our commitment to make this new expansion happen."

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