By Kenneth J. Souza,
DARTMOUTH, Mass. — The new state-of-the-art Saint Anne’s Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center located in the Hawthorn Medical Center complex on Faunce Corner Road was formally dedicated and blessed during a reception and open house for VIPs September 25.
Msgr. John A. Perry, VG, presided over the blessing of the facility while Father Karl C. Bissinger blessed the individual crucifixes to be installed in each room of the center.
“Bishop Coleman really wanted to be here today, but he was unable to make it and he asked me to come here and congratulate you and express how much of an impact this facility is going to have on the whole area,” Msgr. Perry said.
The $21 million facility will provide unprecedented access to advanced radiation oncology therapies for cancer patients throughout the Greater New Bedford and Upper Cape Cod regions in one convenient location and will further expand the services already offered through the hospital’s Hudner Oncology Center in Fall River, consultation offices at the Prima Care and Truesdale Clinic sites in Fall River, and satellite office at Newport Hospital in Rhode Island.
Noting that Saint Anne’s medical oncology program was founded more than 30 years ago in 1976 as a medical oncology outpatient clinic of Boston University, hospital president Joseph E. Ciccolo Jr. said they currently care for more than 5,800 patients annually and this new facility will “strengthen our already outstanding program.”
“What a joyous and proud moment this is for the Saint Anne’s community,” Ciccolo said. “This is truly a spectacular facility and something we can all be proud of.”
According to Sister Vimala Vadakumpadan, OP, chairman of the board of trustees and major superior of the hospital’s founding Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, this new facility will help continue their original mission of continuing the healing ministry of Jesus.
“What is unique about Saint Anne’s is the way we care,” Sister Vimala said. “With charity and compassion, we remain a Catholic hospital that reaches out to our culturally- diverse community.”
The new 21,000-square-foot cancer center is a long way from the one-room clinic started in the basement of the hospital’s main campus on Middle Street in Fall River, Sister Vimala said, and they are now considered the area’s premier cancer care provider.
“This expansion in Dartmouth demonstrates the continuing need for cancer care in this area and the success of our program,” Sister Vimala added. “I pray that patients will come with a heavy heart, but with hope and trust in the Lord and in their doctors.”
The facility is equipped with cutting-edge technology such as 4D CT simulation for advanced treatment planning; image-guided radiation therapy, which delivers highly-targeted radiation therapy to tumors; and intensity-modulated radiation therapy, which offers advanced treatment of certain tumors using a beam to pinpoint the tumor and avoid critical organs. High-dose rate radiation therapy will also be administered onsite to patients with certain gynecologic, skin and early breast cancers.
Funded through private donations and a $5 million capital campaign sponsored by the Friends of Saint Anne’s Hospital, trustee vice chairman Karl Hetzler noted they are about halfway to meeting their goal but are still seeking contributions.
“We need as much help as we can get,” Hetzler said. “The generous help that we get from the people of this community will help us continue to provide quality health care. Prior to Saint Anne’s coming on the scene with oncology, most people from the area had to travel as far away as Boston. That doesn’t have to happen anymore.”