For over a year, CarolinaEast Medical Center, in collaboration with UNC Health Care, have been designing and developing a comprehensive cancer center that will change the course of cancer care in Eastern North Carolina. CarolinaEast and UNC Health Care now welcome a third party to the partnership at the groundbreaking and naming ceremony for the cancer center taking place on the medical center campus.
“This is perhaps the most monumental day in the history of the CarolinaEast, second only to the dedication of the original, 100-bed Craven County Hospital on April 22, 1963,” said Ray Leggett, President and CEO of CarolinaEast. “We have been very fortunate to have stellar physicians, facilities and technology to battle cancer locally – but now, with the support of the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Foundation’s gift of $3.5 million and the many others who have so generously supported this important initiative – all of those – and more, will be coming together under one roof, right here.”
“SECU Foundation is proud to work in tandem with CarolinaEast Foundation and CarolinaEast Health System in support of their mission to provide high-level comprehensive care and prevention programs to help North Carolinians in their fight against cancer,” said Jim Johnson, SECU Foundation Board Chair. “Our statewide 2 million plus members, and specifically the nearly 78,000 members in this region, understand the significance and impact the SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center will have in coastal North Carolina. The Center will help to bring comfort, healing and the assurance of receiving the best care to families in this region coping with this terrible disease.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, State Cancer Profiles, four of the top 12 counties in North Carolina with the highest incidence rate of cancer border Craven County: Lenoir County is number one in the state; Beaufort County is number two; Carteret County is number nine and Pamlico County is number 12.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate or segregate, it can touch everyone and anyone,” said Leggett. “This center brings the needed clinical expertise, imaging and treatment technology, patient and family support and much more together to combat this horrible disease.”
Construction of the 80,000 square foot SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center at CarolinaEast Medical Center is expected to take 14 months and will be adjacent to the newly constructed John and Reba Aylward Diagnostic Center that will house the imaging services currently delivered at CarolinaEast Diagnostic Center on McCarthy Boulevard. “This is a necessary component to the bringing together all the elements of cancer care to one centralized location. We appreciate the support of the Aylward family in making this possible,” explained Leggett. “Our deepest appreciation goes to the SECU Foundation and to the many SECU members for their confidence in this milestone in cancer care in the East.”