LA CROSSE,Wis. (WXOW) – A Winona couple is gifting $5 million for the Mayo Clinic Health System Cancer Center in La Crosse.
The gift from Stephen and Barbara Slaggie was announced Tuesday morning. It continues a tradition by the family of giving to Mayo in recognition of their community health care efforts.
“We support the expansion of the cancer center in the region to complement and expand the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and we’re pleased to play the role that we are in bringing it to fruition,” Stephen Slaggie said in a statement.
For Stephen, surviving spinal meningitis in his youth and later in life overcoming prostate cancer thanks to Mayo, the idea to give back was a no brainer.
“I’m indebted to the clinic, Mayo Health Clinic and staff for giving me life going forward and being able to do the things we do these days,” he said.
Paul Mueller, M.D., regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, welcomed the gift.
“Having a cancer diagnosis is incredibly difficult for patients and their families,” Dr. Mueller said. “Offering comprehensive cancer services close to home makes it easier for patients to receive needed treatment. This generous gift allows us to expand and enhance this vital service.”
To recognize the gift, Mayo Clinic Health System plans to name the cancer center in honor of the Slaggie family.
Later this year, Mayo Clinic Health System plans to finish an expansion of the cancer center. They said that since their cancer center opened in 2004, the number of patients receiving care has doubled.
“It encouraged us so much to be a part of the project,” Barbara Slaggie said. “We’re so thankful to be a part of something so beneficial to people.”
The donation not only gives the Coulee Region more space to treat patients. It’s giving additional inspiration to the doctors and staff in the cancer center.
“The Slaggie family has put their confidence and trust in us and the confidence and trust of the community in us. We really need to continue to make good on that,” Dr. Paula Gill said.
That’s a goal Dr. Abigail Stockham strives for everyday as she knows the impact of just hearing the word cancer.
“It’s one of those words that can stop anyone in their tracks. So what we do is we seek to meet people where they’re at. We seek to be with them through the process,” Dr. Stockham said.