Infusion space designed for peace and privacy, more exam rooms, a welcoming waiting area, and colors that are light, bright and uplifting. These changes and more are coming to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Mississippi.
The renovation project, priced at more than $5 million, will begin next year. During the project’s duration, the center’s outpatients will receive care at Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has, for 31 years, been a place of hope and healing for children diagnosed with cancer, sickle cell disease and other blood disorders,” said Dr. Anderson Collier, director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and D. Jeanette Pullen Chair of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. “The care here is outstanding, but it is time for the facility to match the world-class skills of our care team.”
The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Mississippi is the state’s only pediatric cancer center and is among the largest pediatric sickle cell disease treatment programs in the country, treating more than 900 patients with the blood disorder.
Originally funded with $2 million raised by the Junior League of Jackson, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is located on the ground floor of Children’s of Mississippi’s Batson Tower.
“Since 1991, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has been expanding the care, research and education in oncology and hematology,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair and professor of pediatrics. “These changes will make our patients and their families more comfortable, but they will also increase our capabilities in treating patients, researching the causes and care of cancer and blood disorders, and educating the next generation of pediatric hematologists and oncologists.”
The renovations will triple the size of the center’s infusion room and redesign it for more privacy for patients and will bring the number of exam rooms from the current eight to 14. The colors of the center will coordinate with the warm white, fuchsia and lime found in the nearby Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi.
“The way we practice medicine has changed,” Collier said. “More procedures are done in an outpatient setting. The outpatient infusion area built for 12 patients often has 15 to 19 patients in it, so that area will be larger. The waiting area will be smaller because additional exam rooms will mean less waiting time.”
Jim and Pat Coggin of Jackson launched the fundraising for the renovation project with a $1.5 million gift. “We’re excited about this project and the difference it will make in our community and state,” he said. “The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders provides wonderful care, but the facility needs to be updated. We know personally what cancer patients and their families face, but their situation is made easier when they’re in an environment that’s comfortable, up-to-date and spirit-lifting.”
Joining in the support are Phil and Melissa Hanberry of Hattiesburg, who are matching gifts made through Dec. 31 up to $100,000 through the Giving Grace Fund. The fund is a memorial to their daughter, Maggie, who was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer a month before her 16th birthday.
“Maggie’s desire for a more private infusion space has been in my mind since I was treating her,” said Collier, who was one of Maggie’s oncologists. “She is one of the inspirations for the design of our new space.”
The Junior League of Jackson, instrumental in the start of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, has donated $500,000 toward the renovation project. To recognize the Junior League of Jackson’s incredible and ongoing commitment, the center’s new interactive waiting space will be named in honor of the League.
Friends of Children’s Hospital is providing $250,000 for the renovation. To recognize Friends’ long-standing partnership with the hospital, the infusion room will be named for the organization. Additionally, Friends has also committed nearly $100,000 in support of interactive technology that will be available for patients in every exam room and infusion bay. This commitment was made possible through a generous gift from HORNE and the HORNE Community Foundation.
“We are grateful for the generosity and vision of those who are giving to update our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi. “Together, they are helping us build on the successful 2020 opening of the Sanderson Tower to bring world-class care close to home for Mississippi’s children and families.”
To make a gift online in support of the renovation, visit https://umc.edu/CCRI-Give and designate your contribution to the Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Facility and Patient Care Fund. For more information or to learn about other ways to give, contact Suzanne Crell, major gifts officer, at (601) 815-8778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Annie Oeth/UMMC Public Affairs