In October of 2019, Fitzgibbon Hospital celebrated the donors and staff who have made the highest quality cancer care available to Saline and surrounding county residents. The Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center held its 10-year anniversary celebration on October 15, with patient testimonials, donor recognition and a facility tour. The self-guided tour included the room that houses a life-saving piece of equipment which delivers radiation therapy: the linear accelerator.
As part of an ongoing plan to keep the Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center as a state-of-the-art facility to provide cancer care, Fitzgibbon Hospital intended on announcing at Fling 2020 a new focus for replacing the 10-year-old linear accelerator. But COVID-19 caused the cancellation of The Fling. The ongoing pandemic also resulted in cancellations of the annual Pete H. Rea Memorial Golf Tournament and the Hooters for Hooters Golf Tournament, which is organized annually by Connie Latimer. The cancellation of these events has delayed the public announcement of a capital campaign to replace the very important piece of cancer treatment equipment.
The Covid-19 pandemic also caused a drop in elective and other procedures conducted at Fitzgibbon Hospital, as hospitals revised their intake procedures to protect against possible spread of the virus. While those procedures have resumed some semblance of normalcy, and elective procedures have resumed, the negative fiscal impact of the pandemic remains.
“Traditionally, we identify a need at Fitzgibbon Hospital that is shared with our donors at The Fling each year,” said Angy Littrell, CPA, MBA, President and CEO of Fitzgibbon Hospital. “We were looking forward to launching the two-year, $2 million capital campaign for the linear accelerator at The Fling 2020, but COVID-19 changed our plans.”
The linear accelerator is the primary tool used by physicians in delivering radiation treatments to cancer patients. The new linear accelerator will provide the same treatment to patients they currently receive in a fraction of the required time. The new technology also will allow the not-for-profit Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center to expand the types of cancer that can be treated locally, without ever having to leave the community.
To date, over $225,000 has been raised toward the purchase of the new linear accelerator. The original plan was to make the purchase in two years to take advantage of discounts, but the change in fundraising ability due to COVID-19 may impact those available discounts.
“In the time leading up to the opening of our cancer center in 2009, it was amazing to see the number of people who got involved and donated to this facility,” said Littrell. “And since its opening, we have heard testimony after testimony about how the facility has changed the quality of life for cancer patients in our community. We are asking for the community’s help once again as we work to upgrade this essential piece of equipment during a time when our revenues have fallen during the pandemic. We hope that past donors or others who see the need in our community will help us to ensure this vital investment in our Community Cancer Center.”
To make a tax-deductible donation in 2020 and to take advantage of deductions in this calendar year, please contact Jackie Finnegan, Foundation Coordinator, at (660) 831-3850 or click on the “Giving Back” button found on the hospital’s website at www.fitzgibbon.org.