As the Elliot Health System prepares to bring nearly all its cancer care services and treatments into a single facility at its Manchester campus, the Mary & John Elliot Charitable Foundation has received what they say is a "transformational" donation.
The new 36,000 square-foot center, which brings together oncology, radiology, and surgical services from existing locations in Manchester, Londonderry, and Hooksett, will be called the Solinsky Center for Cancer Care in honor of Ken and Grace Solinsky, founders of Insight Technology in Londonderry.
The couple started Insight in their basement. Insight Technology is now a global firm, now part of L3 Harris, and employs more than 1,300 people.
Ken Solinsky says having good medical care in the area helps attract good employees and his company could not have achieved the success it has without the support of its workforce. “I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community and the workers,” he said. “This is a way to give back that addresses everybody on a very equal basis … the cancer center is available for everybody throughout the community.”
Grace Solinsky says it’s going to make a tremendous difference to patients. “I’m a cancer survivor myself, so I know firsthand all of the stress associated with it, in my case multiple trips to Boston,” she said. “Having all this cutting-edge care and comprehensive ability under one roof is going to be amazing for our whole community.”
Brian Knab, MD, Elliot Regional Cancer Center medical director, added that having oncology, radiology and surgical services in one location is better for the patients and the care team. “It is so much better to have face-to-face contact for the team,” he said. "It allows for seamless care for our patients, they are not traveling all over town, having to go to different locations to receive their care."
In addition to collocating the services, the new center will also have two new linear accelerators for radiation therapy, full radiation, imaging, and diagnostic services, 15 infusion bays as well as a medical oncology clinic, nurse navigation program and a healing garden and meditation space.
Greg Baxter, MD, president of Elliot Health System, said the nurse navigation is particularly meaningful to patients. “We are investing in survivors, providing nutrition, counseling, and other services to help them navigate the process."
The cost of the project is $33 million. The foundation has already surpassed its initial goal of $10 million, raising $11.3 million from the community. The balance, after fundraising is done in June, will be bonded.
Kelli Rafferty, director of philanthropy, said, while they are not making the specific amount of the Solinky’s donation public, the gift is the largest donation by an individual in the history of the Mary & John Elliot Foundation. "We are so grateful for their kind and generous support," she said.
The event to honor the Solinskys also served as the official kickoff to the community giving phase of the Hope is Here campaign. Campaign co-chair Charlie Goodwin says it is exciting to connect more members of the community to this effort.
“Hope is Here,” is not just a motto, says campaign co-chair Ellie Cochran. “The journey of cancer is overwhelming; it’s frightening and it’s long but with the kind support of our community every cancer patient and their family will feel the collective support each time they visit.”
Pictured: Brian Knab, MD, Elliot Regional Cancer Center medical director, Ken and Grace Solinsky, and Peter Crow, MD of NH Oncology Hematology.