- By Rick Thiesse
Stephen and Barbara Slaggie’s generous donation to expand Mayo Clinic Health System Cancer Center in La Crosse
Mayo Clinic has received a gift of $5 million from Mayo Clinic benefactors Stephen and Barbara Slaggie, of Marco Island, Florida, and Winona, Minnesota. This gift will support the renovation and expansion of the Mayo Clinic Health System Cancer Center, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Mr. and Mrs. Slaggie gave the gift in recognition of their long relationship with Mayo Clinic. It is an extension of the family's past gifts and desire to see patients and community members receive the best help available in their time of need.
"We support the expansion of the cancer center in the region to complement and expand the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and we're pleased to play the role that we are in bringing it to fruition," says Mr. Slaggie.
Dr. Paul S. Mueller, regional vice president, Southwest Minnesota Region, Mayo Clinic Health System, welcomed the gift.
"Having a cancer diagnosis is incredibly difficult for patients and their families," says Dr. Mueller. "Offering comprehensive cancer services close to home makes it easier for patients to receive needed treatment. This generous gift allows us to expand and enhance this vital service."
In recognition of this gift, Mayo Clinic will name the cancer center in honor of the Slaggie family. Naming details will be shared at the expansion opening later this year.
The expansion project is underway at the cancer center, with construction scheduled to be completed this year. The expansion will add 3,900 square feet of space, including an enlarged pharmacy area. The project will add nine exam rooms and nine treatment chairs for medical oncology, as well as improve the workflow efficiency of the space and enhance the patient experience.
Since opening in September 2004, the number of patients receiving cancer care at the center has doubled. The expanded cancer center will allow Mayo Clinic to meet the region's current patient demand and allow for future growth, allowing community members from the surrounding area to stay close to home while receiving cancer care.
The Slaggies are longtime Mayo Clinic patients and active members of their communities. In 2017, Ashley for the Arts, of Arcadia, Wisconsin, recognized the family with its Patron of the Arts Award. The Slaggies also were recognized for their outstanding philanthropic endeavors by the Upper Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of the La Crosse, Winona and Decorah, Iowa, regions.
In Marco Island, the Slaggies support various initiatives focusing on private schools and charities, and addressing the needs of the significant migrant worker family population. They were instrumental in establishing the Marco Island Community Foundation to direct assistance where it is needed most.
The Slaggies' gift to the cancer center in La Crosse is an extension of the Stephen and Barbara Slaggie Family Cancer Education Center at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. It demonstrates the family's gratitude for the level of care they have received from Mayo Clinic for more than 70 years. The family welcomed the opportunity to support the expansion of cancer care to be offered in the Winona, La Crosse and the rapidly growing surrounding area.
"It encouraged us so much to be a part of the project," says Mrs. Slaggie. "We're so thankful to be a part of something so beneficial to people."
The Slaggie family also has supported diabetes research, Mayo Clinic Connected Care, regenerative medicine and Mayo films, among other gifts.
The expanded cancer center will support the family's and the clinic's commitment to offering high-quality, compassionate cancer care to the people of La Crosse, Winona and surrounding communities.