It is the rare person, these days, who hasn’t been a sword carrier for a
loved one engaging in hand-to-hand combat against cancer. It is increasingly common, however, for the patient to emerge the victor. Last fall Nevadans added to their cancer-fighting arsenal with the opening in Las Vegas of the Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI), a state-of-the-art cancer center that offers groundbreaking biomedical research, education and technologically-advanced care. The 142,000-square-foot, $52 million Summerlin facility wouldn’t have made it at all, however, without a little help from its friends.
The center has plans to become a National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Care Center, where innovative care will be coupled with cutting-edge research. Patients will benefit from the latest research, while having the option of letting their stories benefit future cancer patients.
The 61-acre master-planned campus includes five acres of land donated by The Howard Hughes Corporation/Rouse Company. It embraces “wellness concepts” that include classes in yoga, meditation and nutrition.
The institute is also one of nine Lance Armstrong Survivorship Programs nationwide. As more patients reach the coveted five-year survivorship goal, there is an increasing recognition that the initial joy will be tempered with unexpected challenges. Patients may suffer from depression, sexual issues, financial burdens, unintended consequences of radiation, memory and cognitive issues, heart disease, long-term pain, fatigue and more.
“It starts from Day One during treatments,” explained Mitch Stoller, president and CEO of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. “You are a survivor the day you are diagnosed with cancer and start learning about things you will face.” Patients and their family, friends and caregivers need the support offered through the survivorship program via education and activities, as well as the ability to participate in long-term survivor
This kind of comprehensive treatment and research obviously costs money. The institute has raised over $60 million from the local community. While much of the money has come from foundations and individuals, business support has also been crucial. “Raising money in Las Vegas – a young city where philanthropy is still taking root – hasn’t been easy for local charities and foundations,” said Clark P. Dumont, vice president of communications and public affairs for the NVCI. “In older
cities, there exists multi-generational fundraising, and social responsibility is very important. Leadership by business leaders, both in treasure and time, is essential to community advancement.”
One business is already a leader in the race. Last year Business Bank of
Nevada raised $35,000 in cash and in-kind donations for various local organizations, as well as contributing more than 1,200 hours of volunteer services from bank employees. In addition, CEO John Guedry raised $17,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation at its annual fundraiser, a 100-mile bike ride in Austin, Texas. “It was just incredible,” Guedry said. “It was a great experience. Out on the course, I met a [cancer survivor] who rode 100 miles with one leg – it hurts me to ride with two legs!”
Guedry became so enthralled with the experience that he is organizing a local bike race as an annual fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. “Businesses are made up of employees who are dealing with issues such as cancer,” he said. “We are people serving people who have complications in life, and as a corporation we have a responsibility to help them solve those problems. In return, they benefit us as employees and as customers.”
Lance Armstrong Foundation
Nevada Cancer Institute
10000 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 260
Las Vegas, NV 89135
Northern Nevada Cancer Institute
1301 N. McCarran Blvd., Suite 101
Sparks, NV 89431