Bill and Esther Littlejohn of Sequim have given the Olympic Medical Center Foundation a big boost in its capital campaign to expand the OMC Cancer Center.
The Littlejohns donated $100,000 as part of fundraising efforts for the foundation’s annual Harvest of Hope fundraiser last Saturday at Sequim’s Sunland Golf &Country Club, an evening that saw donors raise a record $213,000 toward cancer care and the center’s expansion.
“We made this gift because we think the cancer center expansion is extremely important to the community,” Bill Littlejohn said.
“I’ve had so many people tell me how much they appreciate the OMC Cancer Center, as they provide world-class care. Also, patients don’t have to travel back and forth to Seattle when they’re really sick.”
In addition to money being raised for the cancer center expansion, attendees also gave $30,000 to fund the cancer center’s Patient Navigator program, which provides basic living expenses for low-income cancer patients.
“It is imperative that we expand the center,” foundation President Phil Walker said. “A successful capital campaign will ensure that we will be able to expand to meet the increased number of patients who will need treatment in the future.”
The number of patient visits at the cancer center has grown by 157 percent throughout the past 10 years and even more growth is expected in the future. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the number of new cancer cases in the U.S. will increase by 45 percent.
“Due to people living longer and an aging baby boomer population, the number of incidents of cancer will rise,” OMC CEO Eric Lewis said.
The expansion will include:
• Additional clinical exam space.
• An expansion of the pharmacy.
• More infusion and chair space.
• An education space that allows physicians and staff to explain the short- and long-term effects to patients and support them during difficult emotional times.
“We hope that many local people will become a part of this fundraising effort,” said Littlejohn, who also has agreed to be chairman of the expansion campaign.
“It’s an opportunity for people to leave a lasting legacy, and 100 percent of the monies raised will go toward the project,” he said. “No funds will be used for administrative or fundraising costs. There will also be naming rights opportunities.”
Lewis said the expansion will make the cancer center viable for the long term and that it will enable OMC to recruit and retain the best physicians and other cancer professionals.
“It will literally save people’s lives,” Lewis said.
The evening featured food prepared by well-known local chef Kathryn Kitts from The Sweet Beginning Café and wine from Harbinger Winery in Port Angeles.
Those interested in more information or in making a donation can call the OMC Foundation office at 360-417-7144 or email email@example.com.
The Olympic Peninsula News Group is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum.