For the first time, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading killer of Americans under 85, and in Clallam County, it is the No. 1 killer for all age groups.
It is a disease that touches everyone – whether it be themselves, a loved one or friend – we all know someone who has been stricken by this deadly disease.
Since 2002 Olympic Medical Center has aggressively attacked the treatment of this disease. In 2007 OMC had over 2800 patient visits, a figure that has grown steadily over the last 10 years. In 2016, the OMC Cancer Center will see over 8,100 patients, an increase of over 157 percent. It has outgrown its space.
That is why the OMC Foundation is conducting a capital campaign to aid the expansion effort. Currently the Foundation has raised $304,000 , including a lead gift of $100,000 from Bill and Esther Littlejohn of Sequim.
"It is imperative that we expand the Center," said Foundation President Phil Walker. "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.
"We made this gift because we think the cancer center expansion is extremely important to the community," 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," he continued.
"Due to people living longer and an aging baby boomer population, the number of incidents of cancer will rise," said OMC CEO Eric Lewis.
The expansion will include:
Additional clinical exam space
An expansion of the pharmacy;
More infusion and chair space; and
An education space that will allow for 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 the 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 towards the project. No funds will be used for administrative or fundraising costs. There will also be naming rights opportunities."
Lewis said that 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," he said.
Persons who are interested in more information or in making a donation can call the OMC Foundation office at 360-417-7144, or email them at .