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Helmsley-Funded Cancer Centers Bolster Care in Rural Dakotas

Apr 27, 2021 12:59PM ● By Med Editor
Cancer centers supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust in rural parts of the Dakotas are serving patients with state-of-the-art infusion care in comfortable, inviting settings close to home.
The Helmsley Charitable Trust provided a $500,000 grant to help Jamestown Regional Medical Center, an independent nonprofit critical care hospital, launch its $1.7 million JRMC Cancer Center in June 2019. Helmsley’s support provided a “cornerstone gift” that anchored the center and “allowed us to not sacrifice our vision,” said Lisa Jackson, director of the JRMC Foundation.
The 32,000-square-foot facility serves 55,000 people within a 60-mile radius of Jamestown, North Dakota. It features two exam rooms and six infusion suites, allowing patients to receive chemotherapy and other medical infusion therapies in private, dedicated spaces offering hope, healing, and comfort. Each suite includes a sit-to-stand infusion chair that offers heat and massage, companion chairs for visitors, and a smart TV, all in a setting that features natural lighting, calming colors and etched glass in the dividers and doorways, Jackson said.
“We have a mother-daughter that receive infusions together, so it’s just been wonderful to have this type of environment,” she said. “That’s truly unlike anything else right now in the state.”
Some 250 miles to the southwest in Pierre, South Dakota, the Helmsley Charitable Trust helped bring comprehensive cancer care to central South Dakota.
The $30 million, three-story Helmsley Center, which opened on the campus of Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in November 2018, was supported by $10.3 million from the Helmsley Charitable Trust— a $7.8 million direct grant plus a $2.5 million dollar-for-dollar challenge matching grant that was fully realized.
The Helmsley Center’s Avera Cancer Institute offers radiation oncology, a linear accelerator for radiation treatment, and specialized infusion chairs set in a serene environment with large windows providing views of a garden, said Kellie Yackley, Avera Foundation Community Giving Officer.
“It’s very comfortable,” Yackley said. “It doesn’t feel super clinical.”
Other specialties housed within the 57,000-square-foot Helmsley Center include orthopedics, podiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, interventional pain medicine, dermatology, urology, and ear, nose, and throat. The center was built on land between Avera St. Mary’s Hospital and Avera Medical Group buildings, helping to unite Pierre’s medical community.
“Not only did the Helmsley Center bridge a gap for care, but it really built a bridge on the campus between the hospitals and the clinics,” Yackley said.
The Jamestown Regional Medical Center facility, which serves more than 100 patients each month, recently added a REACH coordinator, who is developing programming and relationships with patients, internal and external stakeholders, including staff, providers, and referral sources. REACH stands for Resources, Educate, Advocacy, Chaplaincy, and Hope.
JRMC Marketing Director Katie Ryan-Anderson estimates that the center helped cancer patients save more than 244,000 miles of driving in just its first year, and the numbers keep increasing.
“And we know people were not receiving care because it just wasn’t close enough for them to have access to it,” Ryan-Anderson said. “So that gift translates into not just miles saved, but lives saved.”