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Friday, 14 August 2015 18:02

Wood Foundation Gifts $125k to Cancer Center

By | Business


Additional Matching Grant Could Bring Total Public/Private Funds to $375k

GLENS FALLS — Due to the generosity of the Charles R. Wood Foundation, the oncology pharmacy at The C. R. Wood Cancer Center could soon become a state-of-the-art facility – again. 

“The Cancer Center opened in 1993, and I was there then,” said oncology pharmacist Sharon Geerts. “At the time, we had a nice, modern Center and things flowed well, but our volume has since multiplied, and cancer patients are living longer, plus there are new drugs and new targeted therapies in the last several years, so we’re seeing much larger volumes. We’ve added physicians, physician assistants, and we’ve simply grown out of the space.”   

The Wood Foundation has made a $125,000 gift to Glens Falls Hospital to assist with the relocation and expansion of the oncology pharmacy — and has committed a second $125,000 Matching Grant Challenge, if area families and businesses combine to give an equal amount to the project. 

“Every dollar that you contribute to the oncology pharmacy project becomes two dollars, thanks to the Wood Foundation,” said Cindy Sherwood, Vice President of Development for the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation. “The original gift, plus community donations as we work toward getting the match, will provide a total of $375,000. This project will cost a little more than that, but we anticipate using some of the hospital’s capital funds as well. It is great that Charley Wood was so instrumental in getting us the Cancer Center to begin with, and here the Foundation is still working to help make sure the facility continues to meet the needs of the community. We are more than grateful, and hopeful the community will meet the Challenge.”

The oncology pharmacy at The C. R. Wood Cancer Center is where pharmacists prepare and dispense the chemotherapy drugs and other medications used by the center’s patients. It is currently 190 square feet, while the new one will be 540 square feet with a new clean room configuration that would bring compliance with upcoming federal regulations. The Center is working with the authors of the regulations so the new facility will meet the intent throughout the renovation process. All of the chemotherapy drugs are prepared in this one pharmacy, totaling about 42 percent of the hospital’s entire medication purchase. 

“You would be very surprised at how small it is,” said Geerts. “I’m looking forward to working in a state-of-the-art facility where I can process patient orders and adjunct medications that will not only be safe for the technicians and pharmacists that prepare them, but also for patients that receive them simply by the additional benefits of a well-streamlined process with modern efficiencies.”

The newly expanded pharmacy will enable pharmacists to safely increase the amount of chemotherapy drugs they are able to prepare at any given time, providing improved service to patients at a time when patient volume at the Cancer Center is increasing.  

Donna Winchell, a senior manager at the Cancer Center, said,  “We have one hood for preparing chemotherapy medications and one for nonhazardous preparations. With the new pharmacy, we will have two hoods for chemotherapy medication preparation. There will be an overall increase to employee safety resulting from the evolution of new technologies and research that we will be able to implement.”  

Sometimes the packaging of medications shipped to the pharmacy has trace particles on them, and the renovations will help ensure employee safety by minimizing exposure to hazardous materials during handling. The new room will also include better environmental controls such as air exchanges and humidity levels, which will allow doses to be prepared with a longer shelf life. Currently, doses must be administered to patients within 12 hours. The optimized space with sterile compound needs will lengthen that. 

The late Charles R. “Charley” Wood, founder of Storytown USA (now The Great Escape theme park) and many other area hospitality businesses, established the Wood Foundation in 1978 for the purpose of helping area not-for-profit organizations. In 2001, Mr. Wood made a $1.4 million gift to the hospital, which led to the renaming of the Cancer Center in his honor two years later. 

“Once again the Wood Foundation has stepped to the fore with a gift that inspires others to give,” said Dr. John Schutze of Schutze Family Dentistry, Chairman of the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees. “Just like Charley Wood himself, they make generous investments that multiply many times over for the good of our community.”

“More than 1,000 new cases of cancer are treated at Glens Falls Hospital each year, and the oncology pharmacy is an invaluable part of the care those patients receive,” said President and CEO Dianne Shugrue. “We are thrilled that the Wood Foundation has chosen to support this important project, and we look forward to our community’s help in meeting the challenge.”

Anyone interested in making a gift in support of the Wood Challenge can give online at GlensFallsHospital.org, by calling the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation at 926-5960, or by sending a check to Glens Falls Hospital Foundation, 126 South St., Glens Falls, NY 12801.


Glens Falls Hospital is a comprehensive integrated system of primary care, specialty care and hospital services, serving a six-county region of the southern Adirondacks. With 2700 employees, 535 physicians and other credentialed providers, and 27 regional health service locations, Glens Falls Hospital has the region’s longest-established employed physician group, including specializations in primary care, cardiology, endocrinology, hematology/oncology, internal medicine, nephrology, occupational medicine, otolaryngology, psychiatry, emergency and inpatient medicine, thoracic surgery, and wound healing. Patients are offered a wide range of inpatient surgical services, primary and specialty care, rehabilitative and diagnostic services, and community health improvement programs. For more information: GlensFallsHospital.org. 

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