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Gift to revamp oncology department

August 23, 2012
Meg Alexander - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - FCH Foundation has not been directly linked to Mayo since separating last year, but the nonprofit remains focused on improving local health care.

On Wednesday, the foundation announced a $160,000 gift for Mayo Clinic Health System's oncology program in Fairmont. Much of the money was generated through this year's annual fund-raisers - $95,000 to be exact - and $65,000 came from the foundation's $2 million endowment, according to Shelly Krahmer, president of FCH Foundation.

"I do not believe this project could happen without significant local contributions," Krahmer said, believing the community should feel "a great deal of ownership in this."

"It's nice to have a story about how Fairmont is supporting its future," she said.

Relocating and renovating chemo-therapy services at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont is an expensive endeavor, estimated at $445,000. An $85,000 donation from the medical center's auxiliary, and $200,000 from Mayo, provide the necessary funds to proceed with the project. Bob Bartingale, administrator at the Fairmont site, expects work to begin before the year is out.

"It's one of those things where a lot of groups have come together with great results and all for the benefit of some really needy patients," Bartingale said.

The project will include relocating chemotherapy services from a small cramped space to a more spacious area with natural lighting.

"Right now it's in almost a closeted area, with no outside windows. It's a very dreary place to have to sit," said Carole Lohmann, president of the auxiliary.

With the renovations, an additional infusion station will be added, allowing the medical center to treat more cancer patients and minimizing the need for those patients to travel out of town for their treatments.

The new location, near the facility's administrative offices, will also offer office space for an oncologist and an exam room.

"It's really going to be a true oncology center," Bartingale said.

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In the past, Mayo provided administrative services to FCH Foundation, but that ended last year when Mayo set up its own foundation. Since the two went their separate ways, FCH Foundation has been run by its volunteer board of trustees, who report to the group's members. In the past 12 months, the nonprofit has received $240,000 in contributions, partially from estate planning gifts.

"We've had 225 donors contribute in the past 12 months, which says a lot about the community's involvement and support of local health care," Krahmer said.

FCH Foundation was formed 20 years ago, to make sure local people had local advanced health care. Contributing to Mayo's chemotherapy services in Fairmont is one way to continue that mission. The foundation also recently awarded $23,400 to Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Fairmont for digital mammography equipment and to the chemotherapy department and Patient Care Unit improve patient care and comfort. The funds also are directed to employee recognition and training.

The foundation is looking at other ways to improve the area's medical services as well, including hospice.

Mayo has discontinued its outpatient hospice program, but FCH Foundation still has a desire to support home health care for those with terminal illnesses.

"We believe hospice is a vital service in our community and should be supported with charitable contributions," Krahmer said. "We are working with Mayo and professionals of non-profit expertise to continue supporting hospice as our donors intended."

Over the next year, the board will be looking into other opportunities to expand its local impact.

"The board of trustees is working with its members and community to understand the broader non-profit health care need in the community," Krahmer said.

For more information on FCH Foundation, contact Krahmer at shellykrahmer@yahoo.com or (507) 848-0997.

Contributions can be sent to:

P.O. Box 826

Fairmont, MN 56031

 
 

 

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