The cancer center at Jamestown Regional Medical Center opened its doors on June 17 and hasn't looked back since.
The JRMC Cancer Center had a goal of providing treatment for 100 patients in the first two months, according to JRMC Chief Nursing Officer Trisha Jungels, a goal she said has already been exceeded.
"We see between five to 12 patients here a day," Jungels said. "We're continuing to grow and evolve and the patients have loved it. I hear the word 'homey' a lot around the center."
The cancer center provides outpatient infusion services five days a week which include chemotherapy, blood or blood products, iron infusions, IV hydration and electrolyte replacement, immunoglobulin therapy, osteoporosis medications, medication for chronic illnesses like arthritis and Crohn's disease and steroids, according to JRMC.
Jungels said Dr. Shelby Terstriep, a medical oncologist from the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center, will join the JRMC staff every Monday starting Sept. 9. Terstriep was awarded Sanford Health’s Innovator Award in 2013 for her work in improving the patient experience, according to cancer.net, a website for cancer information she's also an associate editor for.
"She (Terstriep) can see patients and do rechecks as well as new diagnoses here," Jungels said. "If you're diagnosed with cancer you can see an oncologist during your first visit. That's a first in Jamestown history."
Garret Hillius and K.C. Robison, registered nurses at the cancer center and graduates from the University of Jamestown, said patients remain the staff's top priority at the center.
"Word's getting out a little more and we're becoming more established. It's kind of taken off on its own legs," Robison said.
The JRMC Cancer Center was constructed to limit the travel time for cancer patients, said Michael Delfs, CEO of JRMC. Delfs said patients previously had to drive over 90 miles to receive chemotherapy for anywhere between 30 minutes and eight hours before immediately turning around to go back home.
"We've done all the right things for all the right reasons," Delfs said. "The community reaction has been great. I'm amazed at how quickly our services have been able to expand."
Katie Ryan-Anderson, marketing manager at JRMC, said $1.7 million has been raised in fundraisers for the cancer center thus far.
"People from all walks of life have made this all possible," Ryan-Anderson said. "We're trying to constantly remind patients that we're here to support them on their journey."
Moving forward, Delfs said the cancer center will continue to provide the area with the best services possible.
"We want to keep supporting the local community," Delfs said. "We're focusing on what we can do and how fast we can do it to accommodate the wants and needs of the community."
Over five years went into opening the cancer center, a time Jungels said she wouldn't take back for anything.
"It still blows my mind that it actually happened. It felt impossible at certain points," Jungels said. "Our goal is to provide the best health care in the community and I think we have nailed it."