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Radiation Oncology Center Named in Honor of Anderson Family

February 18, 2014

McCook, Nebraska—Community Hospital is pleased to announce the name of the radiation oncology center, which is currently under construction, will be the Anderson Center for Radiation Oncology in honor of Lemoine ‘Andy’ and the late Geri Anderson, according to Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital President & CEO.

The center, which is to be completed in April, will provide daily radiation for patients undergoing cancer treatment. Community Hospital will be unique in providing radiation services, as it is the only critical access hospital in Nebraska providing radiation therapy and one of only a handful of critical access hospitals in the Unites States with this type of service.

The Andersons understood more than most the importance of access to cancer treatment. Geri lost her long battle with cancer in 2013. Their son, Michael, was also stricken with cancer six years prior to Geri and died in 1996 at age 45.

More than a year ago, they chose to give a lead gift of $500,000 to the Campaign for Cancer Care to help build the radiation oncology center. “Community Hospital’s strategic planning process had identified the need to provide radiation oncology for our region, but it was Andy and Geri’s gift that was the turning point in knowing that it could, in fact, become a reality,” said Terri Shipshock, Community Hospital Health Foundation Executive Director.

She continued, “It was such a pleasure to work with Andy and Geri. Their gift to the radiation oncology center is a true example of how philanthropy can accomplish so much. For Community Hospital, the gift contributed to the construction of the center,” she said. “For Andy and Geri the fit met their desire to give back to the community.”

Andy shared his thoughts about why the radiation center was important to them. “For many years this community showed its love and support for Geri and for Mike when they were stricken with cancer. It was Geri’s idea that the radiation oncology center become a reality. She knew first-hand how beneficial the center would be to other families with similar needs for services of this kind,” he said.

Terri stated, “I am so grateful that Andy and Geri made the decision to donate to the center together. “I only wish she could be with us as we dedicate the radiation oncology center in their name.”

They have long been supporters of healthcare for the area and are Heritage Society members of Community Hospital Health Foundation. In 1997, they gave the original gift to start the hospice endowment fund in memory of Michael. That fund has grown to more than $300,000 with the added proceeds from An Evening for Hospice. Over the years, revenue from the hospice endowment has been used to educate hospice nurses, provide grief counseling, purchase hospice volunteer training materials and assist families when resources are not available.

The Andersons also donated a major gift toward Community Hospital's Rehabilitation Center by naming the Geri Anderson admissions area, as well as numerous other projects at Community Hospital.

In addition to Michael, Geri and Andy Anderson have three daughters Marcia, Julie and Jean. Andy Anderson was a long-time business owner in McCook, owning Anderson Motors, an automotive dealership from 1958 to 2000.

Construction of the $6 million Anderson Center for Radiation Oncology began last summer and will be completed this spring. The 4,200 sq. ft. addition is located on the northeast corner of the Community Hospital campus just east of the Medical Specialists Center.

It will include reserved parking, a private entrance, comfortable reception and waiting room, two large exam rooms, offices for staff, a control room and a large vault to contain the linear accelerator used in the treatments. The building is designed with a larger waiting area and exam rooms to allow families to accompany their loved ones during treatment, and for future growth of the service.

"The center will provide a warm and friendly environment, with an ambiance of comfort that is reassuring to cancer patients. Every effort will be made to make our patients comfortable and confident in their quality of care," Ulrich said.

“The decision to build a radiation oncology center was predicated to meet a gap in service,” Shipshock said. “Community Hospital was already providing medical oncology and, in fact had dedicated additional space and trained nurses to administer chemotherapy based on the ever increasing demand. Radiation oncology was the next step needed to provide cancer treatment locally. Travel required to receive radiation treatment was placing unnecessary physical, emotional and financial burdens on our patients. Bringing treatment close to home was the foundation for the Campaign for Cancer Care and the Anderson Center for Radiation Oncology.”

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