A big step for cancer institute

MARSHALL – Avera’s Building Hope Campaign for its new cancer institute took a $100,000 leap this week.

Three local businesses and one organization have each donated $25,000 to the Avera Marshall Foundation’s Building Hope campaign,” Avera said Friday. Lockwood Motors, VFW Post 742, Prudential Elite Realty, and Hoffman & Brobst have all stepped forward with donations.

The most recent donations leave Avera $508,895 short of reaching its groundbreaking goal total.

“We’re still hoping to get groundbreaking in September if we can,” Avera Foundation Executive Director Marty Seifert said. “We still have $500,000 to go, and as you go throughout the area, as people donate they get checked off the list, so the universe of people keeps going down to an extent.”

The $12.9 million cancer institute will be an addition to the existing medical center in Marshall and will provide services including radiation and chemotherapy.

The Avera Foundation set a fundraising goal this past winter 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.

Avera’s first goal is to raise the $11.35 million to get to groundbreaking. The overall goal of $12.95 million includes equipment replacement funding.

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.

Seifert said $500,000 is still an enormous amount of money, so Avera is continuing to push hard to get to its goal.

“We want people to think about it, pray about it, and see if they can help see this through. The best way of saying it is if you get 500 people to donate $1,000 you’ve got it, but that’s still a lot of work.”