Spectrum Health Pennock President Sheryl Lewis Blake welcomed the audience at the Cancer Center Sanctuary and Healing Garden Dedication Wednesday to “an exciting day for Spectrum Health Pennock and a glorious day for our community, and specifically, for the patients we serve.”
Lewis-Blake recognized the leadership of the Community Board of Directors, the Pennock Foundation, Pennock Ventures Board and the staff, all “who moved the new service to reality.”
“The purpose of the Healing Garden and Sanctuary are to create an environment that cares for the whole person and demonstrates a commitment to the soul as well as the physical body….our new center will enable care close to home while maintaining connectivity of specialists and offering clinical trials,” she said.
Chief Operating Officer Carla Wilson-Neil followed Lewis Blake. “We are grateful to Spectrum Health Cancer Center and Spectrum Health System for collaborating with West Michigan Cancer and Hematology in advancing the services for cancer care available to patients here in Hastings,” she said.
“When we are caring for those we love who are battling cancer, it is more important than ever to stay close to home. Treatment and recovery is easier when travel time and costs are reduced and family is nearby.”
Wilson-Neil recognized several people and groups whose efforts helped make the cancer center a reality, such as the Spectrum Health multidisciplinary team that met for a year, “addressing a multitude of complex issues and challenges necessary to implement a program that is now a partner of the region’s largest cancer care provider…we are truly living and delivering on our mission to improve the health of the community we serve.”
Two patients of the new center, Gene Greenfield, the first patient seen when the center opened on July 10, and Chris Bush, told their stories and attested to the exceptional care they are receiving at the third floor cancer center. //
The crowd met Dr. Judy Smith, MD, department chief of oncology at Spectrum Health, who said she came to Spectrum because of its network of hospitals and facilities and to “be able to bring that same level of care, where you have the absolute best…to bring it to the people, so the people didn’t have to travel as they started on their most difficult of journeys. I’m very, very proud that we are able to bring cancer services here to Pennock.”
Pastor Michael Anton noted the level of care at the facility, “the treasure that is Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital… I’ve had a good sense of what we have here for a long time, since my first pastoral visit in 1969.” There is a growing awareness that, “total health is always, and always has been, integrated; mental, physical, spiritual." The hospital now has an interfaith sanctuary, by design, a healing garden for individual meditation, and a cancer center. “Mental, physical, spiritual; the integrated approach to wholeness and health,” he said.
Pennock Foundation Executive Director Janine Dalman announced the foundation has pledged $200,000 this year and $200,000 over the next two years to support the cancer program.
A ribbon cutting was held and guided tours of the cancer center and pharmacy compounding room offered.
Photos: Upper left:The ribbon cutting Wednesday marks the official opening of the Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital Cancer Center.
Middle left: Pastor Michael Anton and Chief Operating Officer Carla Wilson-Neil share a hug after the dediction of the cancer center.
Middle right: The overflow crowd waits in the sanctuary for speakers at the cancer center dedication.
Lower left: Chief of the oncology department at Spectrum, Judy Smith, MD, tells how proud she is of the new Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital cancer center that provides close to home cancer care for Barry County residents.
Bottom left: Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital President Sheryl Lewis Blake speaks at the cancer center dedication Wednesday.