More donations accepted for cancer institute

MARSHALL – Hope continues to be built in Marshall.

Avera Cancer Institute Marshall received three more major gifts for the Building Hope Capital Campaign to build a cancer center, Avera said Monday.

Randy and Janel Wartner donated $25,000; First Independent Bank donated $50,000; and the Knochenmus Family donated $75,000.

These gifts continue the capital fundraising piece for the cancer institute, which began in February, and brings the campaign to 43 percent of the goal ($2.375 million).

“I think that’s a pretty good number,” said Marty Seifert, executive director of the Avera Foundation,” considering we’ve only been doing this for a few months. The large gifts obviously move the numbers forward faster and help us get to our goal.”

The Avera Foundation set a fundraising goal of $5.45 million, out of an estimated $12.9 million total cost. Avera’s funding plan includes a $7 million (plus interest) gift from the city previously set aside after the sale of the medical center from the city of Marshall to the Avera health system.

The $7 million was earmarked for oncology program development when the change of ownership occurred three years ago.

In April, the Schwan Food Co. committed $600,000 to the cancer center – the largest single donation ever given to the medical center from a business or family, – through its Corporate Giving Foundation, Avera said Tuesday. D&G Excavating and the Brian and Kris Gruhot family contributed $75,000 for construction of the cancer institute, and Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative donated $25,000.

Before that, Northstar Insurance of Cottonwood and State Bank of Taunton made contributions of $125,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Seifert said the foundation has mostly targeted Marshall, other cities in Lyon County and Lincoln County in its fundraising efforts to date. He said the foundation is on schedule in its goal of a late-summer, early-fall groundbreaking.

“We’ve solicited 50 to 100 businesses in Marshall and have only been told no by two or three,” Seifert said. “That’s a pretty good number, a lot of money for area communities to volunteer to contribute. The ones that say no I think are keeping us in mind for next year if their bottom lines improve.”

The new cancer institute will be an addition to the existing medical center in Marshall and provide services including radiation and chemotherapy.

The cancer institute’s core service area is Lyon and Lincoln counties, but Avera officials have said that having cancer care options in the region will benefit people from Lac qui Parle County to Cottonwood County, and from Redwood County to the South Dakota border.

Businesses and individuals wishing to donate, volunteer or find out more information about the Building Hope Capital Campaign for Avera Cancer Institute Marshall can contact Seifert at 507-537-9145.