PITTSBURGH, Nov. 30 – The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) andUPMC Cancer Centers today announced the conclusion of a five-year, $100 million capital campaign, thanks in part to a $3.5 million gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation, which will be used to establish the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at the Hillman Cancer Center. The philanthropic funds raised were matched by UPMC, for a total of $200 million contributed to the capital campaign.
The gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation helped UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers exceed its $100 million goal. The campaign was launched five years ago with a $20 million gift from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Hillman Foundation, which created the Hillman Fellows Program for Innovative Cancer Research. The campaign funds have been and will continue to be used to recruit physicians and researchers, invest in infrastructure and expand key areas of cancer research.
“The Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers will be the centerpiece for the comprehensive care and treatment of blood diseases for adults, young and old, throughout western Pennsylvania,” said Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers. “It will be a beacon for patients throughout their diagnosis and treatment, a key component in moving innovative cancer research out of the lab and into the treatment rooms, and a pillar for recruitment of world-class investigators and clinicians to Pittsburgh.”
“This is a new opportunity for my foundation to focus on patient care for those experiencing the same things I did during my journey with Hodgkin’s disease, and I am very pleased to be a part of creating this new facility,” said Mario Lemieux, chairman of the Mario Lemieux Foundation.
The center, serving an estimated 25,000 patients a year, will offer comprehensive diagnostic services, individually designed treatment plans and long-term follow-up services to patients with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma and other blood malignancies.
“We are thrilled to be able to make this gift. From patient care to translational research, we know our gift will touch many lives in our community,” said Tom Grealish, president of the Mario Lemieux Foundation.
In addition to the Hillman Fellows Program and the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers, several endowed chairs and endowed funds have been established during this campaign, including the Arnold Palmer Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention, the Thomas and Sandra Usher Endowed Chair in Melanoma, the Jane and Carl Citron Chair in Colon Cancer and the Stanley M. Marks, M.D., Endowed Research Fund. Critical research initiatives also have been accelerated during this campaign, including efforts to identify nutritional and dietary methods of combating cancer, developing new treatments for melanoma and mesothelioma, and expanding early detection efforts by identifying specific proteins in the blood responsible for cancer development and recurrence.
“It is incredibly gratifying and inspiring to know that thousands of gifts from people and organizations have supported our mission to work toward a future without cancer,” said Dr. Davidson. “The investments in our organization during the last five years have allowed us to recruit key researchers and establish new research programs, as well as assist patients who require support during treatment.”