Slaggie Family Gift
Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare is pleased to announce the dedication the Stephen and Barbara Slaggie Family Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Benefactors Stephen and Barbara Slaggie, of Marco Island, Florida and Winona, Minnesota, gave a philanthropic gift of $5 million to support the renovation and expansion of the Mayo Clinic Health System Cancer Center, in La Crosse.
“We are deeply grateful for the Slaggies’ remarkable friendship, steadfast support, and the legacy they are creating at Mayo Clinic,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. “Through their gift for the Stephen and Barbara Slaggie Family Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, the Slaggies have extended comfort, community and caring to so many people here in La Crosse and in this region.”
The project adds 3900 square feet including nine exam rooms and 10 treatment chairs to the center, which is located on the lower level of the Cancer and Surgery Building. Dedicated space for valuable support services such as dietetics, social work and palliative care, also has been created. The project further integrates local cancer services with Mayo Clinic cancer care in order to provide comprehensive, consistent care across the Midwest.
“The cancer center opened in fall 2004, and since that time, we have experienced immense growth in the demand for our high-quality, patient-focused services,” says Paul S. Mueller, M.D., regional vice president, Southwest Wisconsin Region, Mayo Clinic Health System. “Our patient volume has more than doubled in the last decade, and our staff of specialists has grown by about three times.”
That demand increase reflects the exceptional standard of care provided at the cancer center. In addition to providing Mayo Clinic’s high standards for all care, the cancer center is highly rated by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, having received the commission’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017. The center is also certified by the American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Oncology Practice Initiative.
“We want our cancer center to be a safe place, where it is OK to laugh out loud at cancer, to give and get hugs, to honestly tell someone what you need and to get it,” Paula Gill, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System medical oncologist. “Cancer is an almost impossible road to navigate. Imagine trying to do it with mental illness, poverty, dementia, or all alone. This is where we at Mayo Franciscan truly shine. Our team of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioner, physician assistant , social worker, nursing care coordinator, radiation technicians occupational therapist, pharmacists, clinical nurse specialist, research staff, dietician, phlebotomists, scheduling and reception staff and volunteers work tirelessly to place the needs of the person with cancer first.”
The Slaggies’ gift to the cancer center in La Crosse was an extension of the Stephen and Barbara Slaggie Family Cancer Education Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. It demonstrates the family’s gratitude for the level of care that they have received over at Mayo Clinic over more than 70 years. The family welcomed the opportunity to support the expansion of cancer care that serves the La Crosse, Winona and the surrounding area.
“We’re proud to serve patients from all across our region, from La Crescent to Tomah, Arcadia to Decorah, as well as those from Winona, where our benefactors the Slaggies come from,” explains Dr. Mueller. “Steve Slaggie was a founder of Fastenal, a major employer in our region, and the Slaggies know their friends and family in Winona have access to great care here. That’s part of the reason they chose to support the cancer center here in La Crosse, just as they’ve supported other arts, education and humanitarian causes in this region.”
The Slaggies are longtime Mayo Clinic patients and active members of their communities. In 2017 Ashley for the Arts, of Arcadia, Wisconsin, recognized the family with its Patron of the Arts Award. The Slaggies also were recognized for their outstanding philanthropic endeavors by the Upper Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of the La Crosse, Winona and Decorah, Iowa, regions.
“Thanks to the Slaggies gift and others throughout the years, this cancer center will be a place where friendships will be made in the waiting room where people help each other, reaching out in the fellowship of those who know and truly understand,” Dr. Gill explains. “This also allows us to provide care without sitting for 4 hours in our waiting room or 2 weeks at home before treatment because we don’t have enough physical space in which to treat you. Stereotactic radiosurgery delivered by our radiation oncology colleagues in La Crosse so you don’t have to drive to Rochester in the middle of winter. Clinical trials that offer hope to the hopeless along with coordination with world class specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Scottsdale and Jacksonville to help us manage diagnoses that we rarely see in the community setting. This is where the slogan ‘world class care at home’ is not just a slogan but the truth.”
“I’m proud to say the team of surgeons and specialists who provide comprehensive cancer care for our patients here in the cancer center and for this region are truly a special group,” Mueller adds. “We have world-renowned experts who practice here and they practice every day to bring that level of quality care to the people who need us in La Crosse and from the greater region.”