PINEHURST — FirstHealth of the Carolinas kicked off the public phase of an ambitious fundraising effort on Monday, June 6.
The Building the Dream campaign – a $30 million effort – will be pivotal for the health care system to complete the construction of a new comprehensive cancer center in Pinehurst.
FirstHealth CEO Mickey Foster said the campaign, which is being led by The Foundation of FirstHealth, will change the face of cancer care in the Sandhills. Through the support of community members, the Foundation has raised more than 85% of the fundraising goal.
“We have made a commitment to the communities we serve to deliver high-quality care close to home, and the cancer center represents our next step to keep that promise,” Foster said.
“We feel confident that the generous support from our community members will allow us to open the center in February 2023. Our oncology clinicians and staff look forward to serving our cancer patients and their families in one, convenient location as we lead the way in cancer treatment and research.”
Art Medeiros, chairman of the Foundation Board, said the center represents a commitment to fight cancer and to help patients and their families navigate a complex care process.
“We are building a haven of hope and healing. Comprehensive centers take care of the body, mind and spirit of cancer patients, and they also take care of the caretakers,” Medeiros said. “We have been watching this center take physical shape for months now, but I don’t just see a building. I see the processes that will happen inside the building that will help people navigate their cancer journey through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. We are thrilled to have the community’s support in this campaign.”
The Foundation of FirstHealth accepts charitable donations of any size on its website, and donors can give in honor or memory of someone in their lives. Medeiros said part of his passion for the project comes through personal experience.
“Cancer is very personal to me. I lost my mother, father and my wife to cancer, and I am a survivor. I feel like I have gotten another chance, and I am so tired of losing loved ones to cancer. The rates of cancer continue to grow in our area, so we hope the center can be one way we thwart the growth of this disease,” Medeiros said.
In addition to state-of-the-art treatment facilities, the four-story, 120,000-square-foot center will house palliative care services, research and clinical trials, navigation and support services for patients and caregivers, nutrition services and a dedicated wellness center. A healing garden outside the building will offer a place for patients and their families to connect and relax.
Cancer treatment in the new center could involve patients and their caregivers visiting a meditation room or taking part in a yoga class. The combination of support services and treatment will improve FirstHealth’s ability to provide comprehensive care and bring it all together under one roof, according to Laura Kuzma, Administrative Director, Oncology Services and Clinical Trials.
“Our team has been inspired to see the ongoing construction progress, and we look forward to opening the center next year. We want to provide exceptional, compassionate care close to the communities we serve and make the experience – from diagnosis to treatment and into recovery – seamless,” Kuzma said.