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Cancer Institute Not to Open Until October

July 30, 2005 – The much-anticipated Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute will now open in October, a couple months later than scheduled, Rodney Miller, president of Schneider Regional Medical Center, said Friday.
In a release, Miller said the institute intended to open in late summer, but unforeseen circumstances, including inclement weather and delays in getting building materials on island, have held the project back.
"We expect to see our first patients in October," Miller said. "We are hopeful that a grand opening for the institute can happen in November, and we will let everyone know when a date is finalized."
Miller continued, "Quality is our main driving force in building this world-class facility. We want to do this project right and ensure that the architect's plans are followed."
It seems the project has arisen in record time. Each time one drives by the hospital, the center, always swirling with workmen, appears larger.
Miller stressed, "We would rather get it right, than to open too soon. The health and safety of our cancer patients is our top priority."
The 24,000-square-foot facility has become a project the community has taken to its heart. Since the cancer center broke ground in 2003, numerous fundraisers have generated many thousands of dollars. Rotary Clubs have donated a total of around $300,000 just this year. (See "Rotary II Gives $200,000 to Kimelman Cancer Institute".)
Last year a Cure for Life Telethon exceeded its goal, raising more than $260,000. The American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life pours in thousands more each year. For many, it's the sporting event of the year.
Speaking at a Rotary Club luncheon last year, Miller said, "This cancer institute won't be a success because of me, any particular doctor or any particular staff member, but because of this community and the love they have for their fellow men and women. Virgin Islanders are tired of their loved ones dying too soon, too fast, and not having access to the best quality health care available."
Miller said in the release that the building will be architecturally significant. "One of the goals set by architects Stanley Beauman & Sears is that the building reflects the unique qualities of a Virgin Island community." It is hoped the institute will attract not only V.I. patients, but those from other Caribbean islands, Miller has said.
Renee Adams, institute administrative director, said in the release that the institute will be comparable to any modern cancer center in the U.S.
"We will not only have a state-of-the-art linear accelerator used for radiation treatments," Adams said, "but we will also have additional support services such as a full-service appearance center/boutique, a healing garden area, a resource library, and a telemedicine conference center that will also serve as an auditorium for special events and educational sessions."
State-of-the-art equipment will include a dual energy linear accelerator, a CT scanner simulation and a full complement of 3-D treatment planning, Miller said.
The institute will not only house radiation oncology services, but also chemotherapy, ample exam space, physician offices and supportive care services.
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