Leadership at University Hospitals is celebrating the largess of a local family, after Monday evening's announcement of the largest single gift in the health system's history. Ideastream®'s Rick Jackson reports.
Lee Seidman and his wife Jane call themselves 'lifelong philanthropists', but their 42-million dollar gift to University Hospitals tops everything else they've done.
Set to open next Spring, UH's new freestanding $260 million cancer hospital will be one of just 12 such centers in the country, and elevates U-H into the 'big leagues' as a clinical cancer facility.
Dr. Stan Gerson is head of the renamed University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, named the Ireland Cancer Center since 1981, and says the surprise bequest is already going to good use.
DR. STAN GERSON:
"We have made sure that we're putting the best, most innovative equipment inside the building. We've had partners through Phillips Imaging give us the best state-of-the-art imaging equipment for the cancer center. And we co-ordinate our care through our infrastructure development. All of that was enabled; through this amazing gift."
Not only the new center at UH Case Medical Center, but all nine University Hospitals cancer facilities will benefit, and come together under the single moniker.
Lee Seidman, who founded and has operated The Motorcars Group in Cleveland since 1958, says his gift honors several generations of his family who have succumbed to cancer - a family history he hopes to help others avoid.
"Let's conquer cancer. Let's conquer it, let's send the results world wide to other hospitals that are treating people that have cancer, and let's make it very far down on the totem pole as far as people's lives taken away from that disease."
The Seidman gift coincides with U-H opening the 'public portion' of its Billion dollar fund raising drive.
Dr Gerson says in the current economic climate, just attempting a fund raising drive of that size shows a level of strength.
"It really reflects the confidence that the community and our leadership has in what we do here at University Hospitals to enable us to begin this campaign."
More than $680 million of that billion dollar goal has already been pledged from corporate and foundation grants over the past few years.