Leaders from City of Hope and Los Angeles inaugurated the new Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center on Oct. 5, officially marking a new era in supportive care.
Sheri and Les Biller, whose family foundation provided the initial $2 million naming gift for the center, surprised the audience by announcing a new gift of $3 million to establish an endowment for the center. The gift is in the form of a challenge grant with the Biller Foundation matching every two dollars donated with one of their own.
|From left, Les Biller, Sheri Biller, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Matt Loscalzo and Los Angeles City Councilmember Jack Weiss (Photo by AmyCantrell.com)|
“For everyone who has fought a battle with life-threatening disease — and for their caregivers, their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children — this is for you,” said Sheri Biller, a member of City of Hope’s board of directors. “It is my hope that someday every person who faces such trauma will be blessed with a resource center like ours.”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a special guest speaker at the event, praised the center’s mission and the generosity of those who made it possible.
Villaraigosa noted the uniqueness of the facility’s services. “Every hospital has an advocate, but this is much more comprehensive and broader than anything I’ve seen by providing an opportunity to treat the patient and the family and enabling them with the tools and resources to fight cancer,” Villaraigosa said.
“This is a milestone in City of Hope history, and we are committed to providing passionate, personal care to patients, family, friends and caregivers,” said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer. “With the opening of the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, we are reinvigorating that commitment, and I want to acknowledge and thank Sheri and Les Biller for their generosity, support and faith in this important mission.”
Unifying a wide array of patient support services, the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center provides patients and their family members and friends with tools to strengthen and empower themselves before, during and after treatment. The center aims to provide seamless supportive care at City of Hope.
Patients and their caregivers can find health education materials and computers at the center, as well as staff members who can help them locate information about cancer. Staff members also can provide referrals to outside agencies and resources for transportation, housing and other support.
In addition to a comfortable, open reading area, the 2,845-square-foot center houses rooms for educational workshops, presentations and support groups, as well as rooms for private meetings with patient navigators, social workers, psychiatrists and other Department of Supportive Care Medicine staff.
|Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks with Jeanne Lawrence in the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. (Photo by AmyCantrell.com)|
“The Biller Patient and Family Resource Center is about helping patients and families solve problems and draw on their strengths, so they can fully focus on fighting cancer and living a healthy life,” said Matt Loscalzo, M.S.W., administrative director of the center and executive director of the Department of Supportive Care Medicine.
At the dedication, which was held at the Visitor Center, guests heard about the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center’s philosophy of whole-person care. They then toured the facility, which is located near the entrance of the Main Medical Building, behind the Guest Services Desk.
Special guests included members of the City of Hope board of directors, center donors Pearle Rae and Mark Levey, Debbie and Rick Powell, members of the Spungin Family, members of the Zeidman Family, representatives from the Wells Fargo and Weingart foundations, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jack Weiss, Duarte Mayor Phil Reyes and City councilmembers John Fasana and Lois Gaston, and Beverly Hills City Councilmember Nancy Krasne.
The center has been holding open houses for faculty, staff and patients during September and October. More information about the center is available through ext. 3-CARE (32273) or www.cityofhope.org/billercenter.