Ribbon cutting marks completion of state-of-the-art facility
Last Friday afternoon, officials from Angel Medical Center (AMC), Mission Healthcare System, and the Franklin Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of the Angel Cancer Center located in Franklin with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
AMC CEO Jim Bross welcomed those in attendance, thanking them for their continued support of the project.
“About 21 months ago, we had a small group get together and develop a plan to improve outpatient services,” he said. “We're happy to open this facility for services.
“Today we celebrate the completion of this incredible building. This building houses state of the art technology, rehab, cancer, and other services needed in this community.”
Bross welcomed Ron Paulus, MD and president and CEO of Mission Health. Paulus has been a key figure in the partnership between Mission and Angel and shared his first experience in the new facility.
“When I had the privilege to tour the cancer infusion area, I had the privilege to hear from the head nurse there,” said Paulus. “She said that the first patient came in and entered that space and said, 'oh my gosh,' because we didn't have the right space or the right environment. We've always had the right caregivers, but matching the right space and people and keeping a compassionate focus on the community is what really brings all of this together. So I want to thank you for your support of this project.”
The building that boasts a price tag of around $2.7 million has three floors and totals 29,000 square feet. The ground floor houses rehab services and can be accessed from the entrance located on Depot Street. The second floor will host the infusion area that includes recliners aimed towards the mountain views of the area and the top floor is where Western Carolina Digestive Consultants is located.
“This is a collaborative effort,” said Dr. Charles Barrier of Western Carolina Digestive Consultants. “It wouldn't have happened for sure if it hadn't have been for the insistence of our partners. This facility is very nice but it doesn't really have any soul itself. That's provided by the people that work here. I'm confident that the promise of this building is going to be realized through their hard work.”
In the past, cancer patients have been treated at local hospitals, AMC included, but as pointed out by the medical professionals who spoke on Friday, it just wasn't enough space to fulfill the needs that were presented.
“When I was asked to come in back in 1994, the room that we worked out of was smaller than any room in this building,” said Dr. Michael Messino of Cancer Care of WNC. “We've moved around quite a bit since then but the one thing that has been very positive for this community is that you have had very good infusion nurses. This is one of the best infusion areas that I have worked in.”
According to Angel Foundation Executive Director Don Capaforte, in the past year, there have been more than 120 chemotherapy recipients per month served by AMC. The N.C. Cancer Registry reports that 200 Maconians are diagnosed with cancer each year.
The Angel Foundation set a goal of raising $1 million for the center and has, to date, raised approximately $350,000 through grants and community support.
“This is something that our community can be very proud of,” Capaforte said. “This is something that our community can use to leave a mark and serve generations to come. People can come to this place for the care that they need. They won't have to travel any longer.”
Memorial bricks are available for purchase. At a cost of $100, they can be engraved in memory of a loved one or someone special and placed in front of the building. The proceeds will go towards the capital campaign. Capaforte can be contacted at (828)349-6887 for more information.
Revs. Vic Greene and Bonnie Peggs blessed the building before the ribbon was cut.