Jamestown residents called the Thursday ribbon cutting for the Cancer Center at Jamestown Regional Medical Center a positive step for the community.
"It's a wonderful day," said Sharon Caine, one of the volunteers who helped make the Cancer Center a reality. "This is just a dream come true."
The Cancer Center begins seeing patients on Monday, June 17. The staff of the JRMC Cancer Center will work with the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center of Fargo in providing care for patients who find the Jamestown location more convenient than traveling to Fargo. The Cancer Center anticipates seeing about 100 patients per month in the future.
Don Caine, a former member of the Jamestown Regional Medical Center Foundation, an active supporter of the Cancer Center and a cancer survivor, said he had always believed in the project.
"Early on, it seemed like a dream of some question," he said, "but it wasn't long till the impetus to get it done came through."
The ribbon cutting also included an announcement that cleared any debt remaining from the construction and furnishing of the Cancer Center.
Elizabeth Ruen, Rural Healthcare Program of the Helmsley Charitable Trust, announced the trust had awarded a $500,000 grant to the Cancer Center.
"It is part of the total cost of getting this up and running," said Mike Delfs, CEO of JRMC. "It gave us the ability to open the doors with this paid for on day one."
Local treatment means a lot to people battling cancer.
"Having had to travel to Fargo for radiation and chemo, I understand," said Don Caine. "In the future, those patients won't have to make as many of those trips."
Caine said the availability of cancer care close to home can improve the quality of life for those undergoing treatment and the people who care for them by keeping them close to home so they can heal.
That is a benefit to all residents, said Clarice Liechty, former Jamestown mayor.
"This is great for the community," she said. "When you are sick and have to drive a distance, it takes a toll on you."
The Cancer Center has been in various stages of planning for about six years. Lisa Jackson, manager of the JRMC Foundation, said during her remarks at the ribbon cutting that the Cancer Center was a community project with $1.7 million raised from more than 1,000 donors to reach the point the building could be constructed, equipped and staffed to see patients next week.
"This is a source of pride for all of Jamestown," said Sharon Caine.