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MercyOne unveils plans for $16M Richard Deming Cancer Center


Dr. Richard Deming, center, with MercyOne Central Iowa President Karl Keeler and Shannon Cofield, president of MercyOne Foundation 


MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and the MercyOne Foundation today announced the launch of a $16 million fundraising campaign that will fund the MercyOne Richard Deming Cancer Center in Des Moines. 

With a vision of “creating a future of excellence, innovation and compassionate care,” one centerpiece of the campaign is a remodeling of the existing cancer center on MercyOne’s Des Moines campus as a center of excellence that will provide a more multidisciplinary approach to caring for cancer patients. 

The fundraising campaign also provides for significant upgrades to MercyOne’s cancer treatment technologies, among them a $4.5 million investment by MercyOne to upgrade its CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery technology.

The campaign further includes an expansion of several existing programs designed to support patients and their families with compassionate care, among them the Nurse Navigator program as well as expansion of the Cancer Survivorship program. 

Through the campaign’s silent phase, which has been underway since September, MercyOne Foundation has already received commitments for approximately $10 million toward the $16 million goal. Today marks the beginning of the public phase of the fundraising campaign.

Dr. Richard Deming, a radiation oncologist, joined MercyOne more than 30 years ago and has led the cancer center as its medical director for the past 10 years. The beloved physician is known for his tireless, energetic style and the compassion with which he treats his patients. A community leader and philanthropist, Deming founded the nonprofit Above & Beyond Cancer, through which he has organized numerous inspirational trips for cancer survivors to the peaks of Everest and Kilimanjaro and other challenging destinations. 

“He’s a legend, and this building will bear his name because the hallmark of Dr. Deming is really all about compassionate care,” said Shannon Cofield, president of MercyOne Foundation. 

The initiative represents a new framework for cancer treatment in Central Iowa that will be even more patient-centered, Deming said. 

“This capital campaign, and the opportunity to expand on the incredible work that’s been done over the last 30 years, is really exciting because we’re going to have the opportunity to create a new paradigm for how to take care of cancer patients and their families,” he said. 

Deming, 66, noted that “cancer care is a team sport,” and said he is humbled that the cancer center will be named for him. “There have been many, many people in the community who have mentored me and helped model my behavior, and have given me the opportunity to do what I have done,” he said.  

The campaign consists of three priorities, the first of which includes more than $7 million in construction renovations to the MercyOne Cancer Center building on MercyOne’s main hospital campus. 

In addition to creating the multidisciplinary clinic at the cancer center, the capital project includes a $2 million renovation of the Radiation Oncology Suite, as well as a $2 million remodeling of the west entrance of the cancer center into a more-welcoming lobby and reception area. 

By establishing a multidisciplinary clinic, patients and their family members will receive initial consultation from their entire treatment team in one setting at one time. 

“When a patient is told, ‘You have cancer,’ they often are not quite ready to hear everything that comes after that,” Deming said. “To be able to provide a space where we have not only the doctors but also our nurse navigators, our support services, our genetic counselors and everything together to provide them the support so that they can really understand the journey that they’re beginning, you will make a huge difference in the way we practice medicine. 

“And it’s not for our benefit. It’s about being patient-centered. And it’s going to improve their ability to get care more quickly more efficiently — and with greater compassion.”

Karl Keeler, president of MercyOne Central Iowa, noted that the cancer center already offers the multidisciplinary approach to patients who have been diagnosed with lung cancer, along with their families. “From a patient perspective, it’s been wildly successful,” he said. 

The second campaign priority includes technological updates, among them a $4.5 million investment in a new CyberKnife machine, which is the only one of its kind in the state. When MercyOne initially invested in the noninvasive radiation treatment technology in 2005, it was just the 25th cancer center nationally to deploy the CyberKnife. The technology represents an alternate treatment option for some tumors that were previously inoperable. 

A third priority is to provide $4 million in funding for nonreimbursed oncology programs, which includes expanding the Nurse Navigator program, as well as Palliative Care and Support Services, Survivorship Care and Complementary Alternative Medicine options. 

“These are services not specifically designed to kill the cancer cells, but to help improve quality of life for patients as they’re going through the cancer treatment,” Deming said. Among those services are things such as nutrition services, massage therapy, chiropractic care, music and art therapy. 

An expanded palliative care program will focus on aspects such as pain management, psycho-social support, financial counseling, physical therapy and rehabilitation. Additionally, the cancer center will be launching a new survivorship clinic designed to support patients after their treatment is completed. 

“We’re creating this [survivorship clinic] because many patients who have come through the cancer experience are still experiencing significant physical, psycho-social, emotional, philosophical, spiritual and financial hardship as a result of the cancer journey they’ve come through,” Deming said. 

MercyOne has produced brief videos highlighting the three priority areas of the campaign: 

Patient-Centered, Multidisciplinary Care
Cutting-Edge Innovation and Research
Compassionate Care

For more information about the fundraising campaign, visit the campaign website here.

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