Although Delaware is one of the smallest states in the nation, cancer rates have historically been above the national average, at one time actually gaining the state unwanted attention as the highest in the country.
So when ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center opened in 2002, its mission was to reverse these concerning trends by investing in research, educating the public, engaging at-risk populations and of course providing world-class treatment.
Those efforts have paid off, as today Delaware now ranks 18th in the nation in incidence and mortality rates for cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. A critical source of funds for the Graham Cancer Center’s work has come money raised for an endowed fund that supports biomedical research for new cancer treatments, gene editing and other new technologies.
This week that fund received a major boost with a $500,000 grant from Bank of America.
Bank of America said the gift was focused on both helping Delawareans live healthy lives but also in supporting local economic growth and opportunity. ChristianaCare is the largest private employer in the state and biomedical research is viewed by economic development officials as a key focus of future growth.
The bank’s Delaware market president Chip Rossi noted the company had been a long-time supporter of ChristianaCare and was an early financial backer of the Graham Cancer Center as well as the Center for Heart and Vascular Health at the hospital. He also said that reaching populations most at risk of health challenges was a priority for their philanthropic efforts.
“We know that in underserved communities, the incidence of cancer and access to health care is a challenge,” said Rossi.
ChristianaCare CEO Janice E. Nevin, said the grant would help advance “Delaware as a vibrant innovation corridor where world-class research is thriving.”
According to ChristianaCare, the hospital one of the busiest cancer programs on the East Coast, treating more than seventy percent of the cancer cases in Delaware. They said that more than 230,000 patient visits were recorded last year, and ChristianaCare is projected to treat more than 3,000 new cancer cases next year.