Pardee Cancer Wellness Center opens

The James T. and Elsa U. Pardee Cancer Wellness Center is now open on the campus of MyMichigan Health in Midland. An open house and ribbon cutting celebrated the new 115,000- square-foot facility on Wednesday evening. 
Gail Lanphear, president of the Pardee Foundation, is interviewed at the Pardee Cancer Wellness Center.
In a ceremony before the ribbon cutting, the president of the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation. Gail Lanphear, said, with this new building, “We’ll have everything in one place,” referring to diagnostic, treatment, and support services for patients with cancer. The Pardee Foundation contributed $6 million to the project. More than $26 million was raised, over half of the project’s cost. The project began in April 2022, on the site of the former Towsley Building. Lanphear said, ”This building will be where they can come for not only treatment, but for support.”

Lanphear’s great-aunt, Elsa, and her great-uncle, Jim, both died of cancer in 1944. Under the terms of her will,  Elsa provided a trust fund with $1 million “for the promotion of the control and cure of cancer.”  Lanphear reported at the event that the Pardee Foundation has donated $165 million for research and treatment.  Lanphear noted that there are Pardee Cancer Treatment Funds in Midland, several neighboring counties, and one in Texas.  For cancer patients and their families, Lanphear said the fund is available “to help you pay for the things you can not pay for.” The new building now also houses the offices of the Pardee Fund and Cancer Services of Midland. 

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Pardee Cancer Wellness Center
During the ceremony, the chief of oncology services, Dr. Melwyn Sequeira, a surgical oncologist, said, “There’s something about that “C” word…” that sparks fear and concern in patients and their families. He notes that in the first year after a diagnosis, a patient makes around 100 visits to the hospital. He said the new center may “help reduce that multiple visit issue.” Dr. Sequeira expressed his gratitude to the people gathered on all four levels of the center for the ceremony, “You truly are MyMichigan Health’s ambassadors.” Denise O’Keefe, the executive director of the MyMichigan Health Foundation added,” We are overwhelmed by the support we’ve received for this project.” The foundation is continuing to seek donations for the center.

In his remarks, Tony Stamas, the president and CEO of the Midland Business Alliance, complimented not only the new building but the individuals working in it, calling them “compassionate, caring, dedicated.” Dr. Lydia Watson, the president and CEO of MyMichigan Health, thanked the construction companies, doctors, nurses, and staff for their efforts during the project. She referred to the new center as “a place for hope, healing, and compassion.”

A stained glass sculpture in the courtyard honors late CEO Diane Postler-Slattery.After the ribbon cutting, attendees were invited to take self-guided tours through the facility. A new stained glass sculpture has been placed in the courtyard in honor of the late MyMichigan Health CEO Diane Postler-Slattery who died in a plane crash in 2022. 

Other Founders supporting the project include John and Sandy Bartos, The Dow Company Foundation, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Jim Fitterling and Alex Lee, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, MyMichigan Medical Center Midland Gift Shop Service, Frank and Jean Popoff, The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, and Robert Wintermyer. Many other foundations, businesses, organizations, and families also contributed. For more information on MyMichigan’s cancer program, visit their website.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Ron Beacom.

Ron Beacom has served as the managing editor of Catalyst Midland since October 2020. He's also a freelance writer for the Midland Daily News and the producer/host of "Second Act: Life at 50 Plus" for WDCQ-Delta College Public Media (PBS). He's the co-producer of two WDCQ documentaries about the Tittabawassee River Disaster in 2020, "Breached! and Breached!2-The Recovery."