Kona residents Milton and Ursula Stolaroff recently donated $250,000 to The Cancer Center at Kona Community Hospital, where officials “with an eye toward growth” are “exploring expansion options for the medical oncology and infusion centers,” said Judy Donovan, hospital spokeswoman and regional director of marketing.
Established more than 20 years ago, The Cancer Center offers medical oncology, hematology, chemotherapy, infusion services, radiation oncology, cancer registry, diagnostic services and surgery. It has 16 employees, a physiologist and four doctors. Dr. Anthony DeSalvo, an oncologist, is also the only hematologist on the island, Donovan said.
This team guides patients, along with their families and friends, as they cope with the physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual and financial concerns accompanying a cancer diagnosis, according to the hospital’s website. The center has approximately 14,800 patient visits annually, Donovan said.
The donation will be administered during a five-year period and comes from the couple’s newly established foundation, which aims to create long-lasting impacts in the community. The Stolaroffs picked The Cancer Center as their first philanthropic beneficiary because it’s a cause “that is both personal and meaningful to them.” Ursula has been a patient at the infusion center for more than eight years. She has seen and experienced the compassion and caring by the center’s staff, all of which inspired her to want to give back, Donovan said.
Peggy Bowman, the lead nurse at the infusion center, described Ursula as “a lovely woman” who is “always very positive and caring.” Bowman added, “She sees that the infusion center is all about kindness and hope.”
The hospital and its nonprofit foundation had a special event April 17, celebrating the donation, honoring the Stolaroffs and acknowledging their generosity with a plaque dedication.
“Their generosity will greatly enhance the level of care for cancer center patients,” said Jim Higgins, Kona Hospital Foundation chairman. “We’re very appreciative of Milton and Ursula’s sense of community.”
The Kona Hospital Foundation was created in 1984 to accept gifts and solicit donations for new medical technology, expanded services and enhanced facilities for the hospital. Its board, staff and volunteers strive to achieve “a state-of-the-art facility with comprehensive medical services, which will enrich the lives of every member of the community today and into the future.” Since its inception, the foundation has donated more than $5 million toward numerous projects.
Its fundraising focus this year is The Cancer Center, with a goal of improving cancer treatment for patients in West Hawaii, Higgins said.
Cancer treatment at the hospital began decades ago when visiting doctors came from Oahu to help patients and a clinic operated in a single room that’s now the Physicians’ Lounge. Kona Hospital Foundation later secured a building, which was used as a real estate office, and moved it to the site for use as the hospital’s oncology clinic building, Donovan said.
While she could not offer more details about the expansion options being considered, Donovan explained with more space, the hospital would be able to handle more patients.
The Kona Hospital Foundation welcomes all donations, which can be earmarked for specific projects. To contribute or for more information, call 322-4587 or visit khfhawaii.org.
Email Carolyn Lucas-Zenk at email@example.com.