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Crosses Finish Line

Defying early expectations of a hard climb, CalvertHealth Medical Center’s largest fundraising effort in its history, the United We Thrive for Cancer Care Campaign,” has reached its ambitious $5-million goal to support the critical and growing need for advanced cancer care services – including a robotic surgery program – easily accessible locally.

“At the heart of the campaign’s success was one universal truth”, said Campaign Chair and Foundation Board Trusteee, Marianne Harms. “Every single person I talked to has been touched by cancer.” This sentiment was echoed by Denise Bowman, who was Foundation chair during the campaign, “Everybody in some fashion, in some way has experienced loss, has experienced pain, has watched a loved one, a friend, a coworker, a family member go through the horrors that cancer can present.”

Harms credits Bowman’s personal testimony as a breast cancer survivor as paramount in helping people understand why the campaign is so important to our community. “She put a face on our effort…she has had some difficult diagnoses and was so willing to share her story.” For Bowman, her reason is simple: “CalvertHealth provides health care for my family, why wouldn’t I make it the best place to go.”

Federal, State Funds Support Robotics

According to Harms, the campaign got a major jump start with support from our elected officials. She said Congressman Steny Hoyer was instrumental in helping CalvertHealth obtain a $950,000 Health and Human Services grant. Additionally, the Southern Maryland delegation led by Sen. Jack Bailey and Del. Brian Crosby with support from House Speaker Adrienne Jones was especially helpful in the medical center securing $1.4 million in state funding.

These funds along with other individual contributions helped support the addition of the $3.5-million da Vinci® robotic assisted surgical (RAS) system at CHMC. “Having a robotics program will be a critical addition to our cancer service line,” said CalvertHealth Cancer Program Director Dr. Theodore Tsangaris. “This is an important investment that will increase our capacity to handle complex and delicate surgeries.”

Campaign Addresses Critical Components

The centerpiece of the campaign was CalvertHealth’s affiliation with Duke Health, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – providing patients in the region with access to the latest thinking in cancer care and opening doors to clinical trials locally later this year.

Another critical need in cancer care is magnetic resonance imaging. “Upgrading our MRI system will play an important role in advancing patient care,” said Dr. Kenneth Abbott, who chair’s CalvertHealth’s Cancer Committee. “A major benefit of this enhanced technology is faster scans, which means less anxiety for the patient. At the same time, it produces better images leading to a more accurate diagnosis.”

The campaign also helped fund the creation of a cancer endowment to provide crucial support for future needs of cancer patients. “The endowment is our promise that we will continue to pursue the priorities our community needs when it comes to cancer,” said Harms.

A community appeal was launched last month to address additional cancer needs. To make a donation, call 410.414.4570 or go to: calverthealthfoundation.org. All donors to the campaign will be recognized beginning in the fall.
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