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Howdy and Carole Holmes, co-chairs of the Cancer Center fundraising campaign, Nancy Graebner, CEO of Chelsea Community Hospital and Johnny Mitchell.

Howdy and Carole Holmes, co-chairs of the Cancer Center fundraising campaign, Nancy Graebner, CEO and president of Chelsea Community Hospital and Johnny Mitchell.

Nancy Graebner, CEO and president of Chelsea Community Hospital and Carole E. Holmes, co-chair of the Cancer Center fundraising campaign.

Nancy Graebner, CEO and president of Chelsea Community Hospital and Carole E. Holmes, co-chair of the Cancer Center fundraising campaign.

Chelsea Community Hospital is not only branching out (through a capital fundraising campaign) but also “Giving Hope a New Home” by embarking on a new $10-million Cancer Center project on its beautiful woodland campus.

On Thursday evening, the first shovels of dirt were dug at the official groundbreaking for the new center and despite the snowy weather about 100 people attended the ceremonial event.

The fundraising campaign for the 15,000-square-foot Cancer Center is led by co-chairs Howdy and Carole Holmes, and a committee of more than 30 physicians, community members, cancer survivors, and business leaders.  The committee plans to raise $6 million in support of the Cancer Center and in December, 2013, it was announced that more than $5 million had been raised.

The new center will be part of the main hospital and expand the current cancer care services, add radiation therapy, plus a private entrance. Plans include expanded chemotherapy and infusion services and a radiation oncology suite with a linear accelerator and CT simulator.

The estimated completion date is December.

Carole Holmes said she was approached about two years ago and asked to chair the fundraising campaign and since then “so many individuals have committed to this project.”

She says she’s thankful to the community and the experienced team, which includes many cancer survivors, who have been treated at several cancer centers in Washtenaw County that helped with the design, architecture and all the amenities for the new center.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege and extremely humbling,” Carole Holmes said of the experience.

As part of the ceremony, Nancy Graebner, president and CEO of Chelsea Community Hospital, told the crowd, “There are a lot of unsung heroes in this room and not in this room with pioneering vision and inexhaustible spirit” who have been involved in this project.

Rev. Kathy Schell offered a blessing for those in the room, those who will work on the building and those who will use it as patients, she said the cancer center will truly be “a home of hope,” which will heal body, mind and spirit.

cancer-center-groundbreaking-shovelLarry Warren, a member of the board of directors, CHE Trinity Health, said he thought Will Johnson was kidding when he said the community went to Chelsea Hospital for lunch, dinner, meetings and weddings. “The connection of this hospital to the community is indescribable,” he said.

He said patients at CCH consistently gave the hospital the best scores for patient experience.

Katie Beekman, MD, FACS told the crowd that a cancer diagnosis is a “life-changing event.” She said “cancer care is unique” because patients spent a lot of time at a hospital during treatment “a cancer center becomes their community.”

She said the focus would be a “space that’s supportive for staff and comfortable for patients.”

“This community is amazing and there have been lots of people rooting for this for a long time,” Beekman said.

A cancer center in the community will mean less travel time for patients making treatment easier and less stressful. When completed, Chelsea Community Hospital will offer state-of-the-art cancer services for the community with expert care on a quiet, woodland campus.

Please enjoy the photo gallery below.

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