Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancer patients will have one less thing to worry about as the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center breaks ground on their new facility. Worries like travel, finances, strength, peace of mind and family support have been weighing heavily on Hi-Line cancer patients for years. Those worries will be lifted a great degree with the new cancer center that broke ground on Saturday morning and is expected to open in one year. The long term project to bring the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center into reality will take $6.5 million including all construction and equipment costs. Northern Montana Health Care and the Sletten Cancer Institute will pay the majority of that cost as well as staffing, treatment and support costs, but they need to know that the community is behind them. Significant fundraising of $1.2 million from local philanthropy through community support will make the the dream of cancer healing at home come true. The Hi-Line Cancer Center will take up 10,000 square feet just west of the Northern Montana Medical Group-West and expects to offer treatment and support services to people who are diagnosed with cancer along the Hi-Line each year. The groundbreaking ceremony began with an opening prayer by the NMH’s pastoral care coordinator Ila McClenahan, followed by additional prayers by Clinton Brown of Fort Belknap and Videl Stump of Rocky Boy. With shovels manned by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, Bob Sletten, Chairman of the Board of Sletten Construction Company, David Leeds and Lynn Hamiltion, co-chairpersons for the Hi-Line center’s capital campaign, Dave Henry, CEO of Northern Montana Health Care, John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health Care, Havre’s Mayor Bob Rice, Cliff Garness, construction project manager and Employee Stock Ownership Plan representatives with Sletten Construction Company, Seth Broesder from Rep. Denny Rehberg’s office and architect John Bolton of CTA Architect Engineers the center broke ground. “Today brings hope hope of a better life, free from the suffering and helplessness that cancer brings. Thank you Lord that we are able to pause and honor You on a day that will be life-changing for our community,” McClenahan prayed. “We ask the Lord to bless those that have given so generously and for You to lay it on the hearts of those who will need to give in the future.” “This new center will provide access to quality health care for thousands of folks along the Hi- Line. It’s a sign of positive growth in rural Montana,” Sen. Tester said. “I look forward to watching the progress and seeing all the good things the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center will bring to Havre.” Northern Montana Heath Care announced last fall that they intended to take their mission to another level by providing the much needed cancer treatment services right here in Havre.
When the Sletten Cancer Institute in Great Falls became the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art cancer care facility in the state, the Northern Montana Health Care Board of Directors, Foundation, and Sletten took a hard look at expanding to Havre. “The Sletten Cancer Institute has been a tremendous success and looking at demographics, we saw that another cancer center was needed in this area,” Henry said. “There are 220 cancer patients being diagnosed every year from Havre and the Hi-Line. That’s not including people who haven’t been diagnosed. The Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center expects to serve at least 100 of those diagnosed with cancer.” The project has a vision of taking away some of the burdens that their cancer patients were overwelmed with bringing the much-needed cancer care closer to home and family. The plans came after the hospital began to see the “trials and tribulation” and wear and tear of patients who were being referred to Great Falls, Billings Radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Traveling for these patients was a hardship that patients will no longer have to endure after next May. Each patient will take their unique emotional and spiritual values, health issues, home and life factors with a mind, body and spirit customized treatment plan for the “healing power of Sletten at home.” There are over 100 types of cancer and newly discovered treatments mean more and more people are surviving cancer, according to the Northern Montana Health Care Foundation. Imagine having to travel 250 miles or more for treatments with painful side effects, and having to make those trips without your loved ones...your most important support group, and the very people who contribute so much to your healing. Fortunately for families along the Hi- Line, there will soon be people and organizations dedicated to comprehensive cancer care close to home.” “Common visions, extensive experience, collaborated knowledge and teamwork are the essential elements of achievement. At Northern Montana Health Care Foundation, we are asking you to join our team. Together we can achieve, what once we could only imagine,” Henry said. A generous donation of $250,000 was given by the Sletten Construction Company, Employee Stock Option Plan Corporation. The workers who built the Sletten Cancer Institute and who will build the Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center have added more hope to the dream. The fundraising has already begun with tremendous success of the Wine Gala in November and the Highham “Men Who Cook For Women who wine” benefit in February. Many fund raising benefits are planned for the upcoming year including a golf tournament in August, Artitudes Chair-ity Event in September and another Wine Gala in November. “One of the reasons the cancer center in Havre will work is that the motto of Northern Montana Hospital is “Our family caring for yours,” Henry said, “That is what we need now from the community.” For more information, please call Christen Obresely at Northern Montana Hospital at 262-1412 or about making a contribution.