Ringing in a new era: August opening for Elliot Regional Cancer Center

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Rendering of entrance to the future Elliot Regional Cancer Center-Solinsky Center for Cancer Care.

MANCHESTER, NHWhen one completes cancer care in many hospitals, they ring a brass bell.  The activity symbolizes the end of one time period (cancer treatment) and the beginning of another (recovery).  So, it was only fitting that two local cancer survivors Don Gonville and Cynthia Loeffler rang bells recently at the close of a celebration to mark the future opening of the Elliot Regional Cancer Center-Solinksky Center for Cancer Care on the Elliot Hospital campus.

Hospital officials, community members, patients and donors gathered to share progress on the Cancer Center and thank and recognize the many who are helping make the 33-million-dollar project a reality.

Ken and Grace Solinsky.

“The ‘Hope is Here’ campaign is not just a motto, it’s a beacon for the care we provide,” said Greg Baxter, M.D., President of Elliot Health System as he welcomed the audience of about 75.  Dr. Baxter said the event marked the formal start of the community campaign to complete the center. He would also touch on a common theme echoed by others that the new center brings together “three pillars of cancer care” oncology, radiology and surgery under one roof.  Dr. Baxter explained that by having key services co-located, patients would only benefit from side by side services but also less travel between locations, which is currently the case.

Both survivors and clinicians shared that while local cancer care is of the highest quality, patient travel between sites in Manchester, Londonderry and Hooksett can be taxing in an already stressful situation.  With Elliot estimating that the average cancer patients is seen more than 30 times over the course of treatment, having all services under one roof can be a game-changer. 

Set to open this August, the new 36,000-square-foot facility will feature an array of new, advanced technology and services, including:

  • Two new linear accelerators for radiation therapy
  • Full radiation, imaging, and diagnostic services
  • 15 infusion bays and a patient-friendly infusion suite
  • An oncology clinic
  • Expanded thoracic surgery capabilities
  • A new patient navigation program
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation space
  • A healing garden and meditation space
Cancer survivors Don Gonville and Cynthia Loeffler ring a brass bell to signal the end of their cancer treatment.

To accommodate the new center and parking concerns at Elliot’s main campus, the project also included a new parking garage that will accommodate over 300 vehicles.

With a nod to the future needs of the community, officials at Elliot said that the planning for the new center began in 2015 as part of the system’s master plan.  Within the next decade, it is estimated that there will be a 36 percent increase in demand for cancer services. Dr. Baxter said this level of planning means Elliot is well poised to treat current as well as future cancer care needs.

Campaign committee leads Charlie Goodwin and Ellie Cochran.

Raising the funds for a project of this size and scope is truly a community endeavor and campaign committee co-chairs Ellie Cochran and Charlie Goodwin lauded the legacy of support for the hospital, not only for this project but throughout its century-long history.  Stepping up in major way for the cancer center are local philanthropists Grace and Ken Solinsky. Grace, a cancer survivor, said she knows first-hand what treatment is like and that she is very excited to be able to contribute to “an amazing new resource.” Husband Ken said that he and Grace “couldn’t imagine a better way to give back to the community.”  Ken also views the new center as a plus for employers in the community. 

Other speakers at the event included: Survivor Don Gonville, Elliot Health System Chair Chuck Rolecek, Holly Mintz, M.D.,  Chief Medical Officer, Ambulatory Services ,and Kelli Rafferty, Director of Philanthropy for the Foundation.  Also making remarks were physicians Brian Knab, M.D., Medical Director-Elliot Regional Cancer Center and Peter Crow, M.D., Chief of Medical Oncology. The duo shared that from the provider perspective, the new location will not only help better integrate the care but also lead to better outcomes.  Dr. Crow said that as the new center is coming into shape, there’s a true sense of excitement and anticipation among the medical staff. 

Ms. Rafferty said that the community can learn more about the project and contribute by visiting www.elliothospital.org/cancercenter.  

Reach Chris Dugan at chrisdugan@manchesterinklink.com