After five years of planning, fundraising and construction, Valley Health
dedicated its new regional cancer treatment facility at Winchester Medical
Center (WMC) this morning. Hundreds of local officials, Valley Health
trustees, physicians, staff and volunteers, donors, patients and area
residents gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of the new
building, which embodies the community support that made it possible,
as well as the expertise, compassion and healing power found inside.
“This beautiful new center will benefit cancer patients, their families
and our staff, functionally and aesthetically, by providing a bright,
hopeful environment for those who, together, fight this disease,”
said Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill.
On a lakeside site adjoining the Diagnostic Center on the north side of
the WMC campus, the 52,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility houses
nearly every outpatient service a patient with cancer might need, including
chemotherapy and radiation treatment areas, physician practices for surgeons,
medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, consult space for cancer
patient navigators, nutrition counseling, integrative care and a clinical
research office. Upstairs, a skywalk connects to the Diagnostic Center,
where patients can access medical imaging, lab services and genetic counseling.
A 70-seat meeting space makes cancer team conferences and patient, family
and staff education more convenient. The building’s siting and design
capitalizes on natural light, expansive outdoor views and an impressive
wheelchair-accessible healing garden with rocking chairs overlooking the water.
“Cancer care has long been a vital service for us and for the communities
we serve throughout our region,” said Winchester Medical Center
President Grady W. “Skip” Philips, III. “This center
enables our patients to conveniently access the entire spectrum of cancer
services under one roof and have a more seamless, coordinated treatment
experience from diagnostic services to surgery, radiation, chemotherapy,
nutrition counseling, and integrative care. We have invested in state-of-the-art
technology and continue to expand our established team with new cancer
specialists who are drawn to our comprehensive program and vision for
the future,” Philips adds. “This will be a wonderful place
for our multidisciplinary team to work and our patients and families to
be supported throughout treatment and recovery.”
Physician practices within the new center are Shenandoah Oncology (radiation
oncologists and medical oncologists/hematologists), Valley Health Surgical
Oncology (surgical oncologists, also thoracic surgeon, interventional
pulmonologist and gynecological oncologists), and Valley Health Breast Center.
The Cancer Center’s radiation oncology suite has two new Varian TrueBeam™
linear accelerators and an enhanced radiation treatment planning system.
In the medical oncology department, the infusion/chemotherapy area is
spacious, with recliners overlooking the healing garden and lake and other
comforting features for patients who may spend much of the day tethered
to their intravenous treatment.
The $28.5 million project was approved by the Valley Health System Board
contingent on the WMC Foundation’s success with an ambitious $10
million capital campaign. Successful it has been: more than 1,700 individuals
and businesses have made donations of all sizes totaling $10.2 million to date.
“Our organization had not conducted a capital campaign for more than
fifty years,” Merrill noted. “With strong leadership from
Jimmy Wilkins, Harry Byrd, Bill Buettin and Jason Aikens, the WMC Foundation
received a phenomenal response from area businesses and individual donors,
as well as our own Valley Health ‘family’-- the Winchester
Medical Center Auxiliary, our trustees, physicians and employees.”
The largest single gift was an $800,000 pledge from the Winchester Medical
Center Auxiliary. A $500,000 in-kind donation from Trex Co., Inc., made
possible a striking pergola and extensive decking in the Trex Healing
Garden, which provides both a peaceful outdoor destination for patients,
families and staff and beautiful views from the lobby, treatment areas
and conference room along the building’s south side. “I hope
those who have made a donation to this Center have an opportunity to see
the inspiring space created through their gifts,” said Merrill.
For radiation oncologist Bruce Flax, MD, co-medical director of oncology
services at WMC, the new Center provides a more pleasant environment,
but he’s most excited about its functional beauty. “Putting
our program under one roof will ensure closer collaboration between services
and reduce patient and family stress. We are now providing less invasive
and more precise treatments for brain, lung, head and neck and GI cancer,
and we have dedicated space for a full-time cancer nutritionist. Even
the communal waiting room, with its soaring ceiling and beautiful view,
will reduce fear and encourage a sense of community during a difficult
The new Cancer Center is located at 400 Campus Boulevard, Winchester. The
facility will open to patients on Monday, August 29. Radiation Oncology’s
move to the new Center will occur in late September to accommodate coordination
of care for individual patients receiving radiation therapy.