Tufts Medical Center and The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care today announced the opening of the Marlene Neely Center for Digestive Health, a comprehensive, state-of-the-art facility focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal illness. The Center is named in memory of NHL Hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely’s mother, Marlene, who lost her battle with colon cancer in late 1987.
“The Cam Neely Foundation has always focused on developing programs and centers to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and providing quality access to treatment and care,” said Cam Neely, President of The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care. “Seeing first hand my mother’s journey through colon cancer and being able to dedicate a center in her honor makes me extremely proud, and I am grateful for those who have supported this project.”
The Marlene Neely Center for Digestive Health will enable Tufts Medical Center to offer the highest levels of predictive, preventative and personalized care to all patients. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the US and this country’s third most common cancer. The 16,000 square foot Marlene Neely Center for Digestive Health combines the GI clinic space and a procedure suite, that was designed in partnership with patients, families and staff to make it both efficient and patient-centric. Included in the Center are 10 new, large exam rooms, five endoscopy procedure rooms, two of which are designed to accommodate advance endoscopic procedures, and expanded prep and recovery areas. In addition, three comfortable waiting pods strategically placed will lead to greater patient comfort and operating efficiency.
“We couldn’t be more grateful to the Neely's who have, through The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, now donated more than $31 million to Tufts Medical Center for projects that have had an immediate and long-lasting positive impact on thousands of families,” said Michael Wagner, MD, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Tufts Children's Hospital. “This new Center will help those who need anything from a screening colonoscopy to consultation with a top specialist in Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis to treatment for colorectal cancer. Patients will receive the very best in care in an atmosphere that is both modern and comforting, complete with the latest technology.”
Cam Neely's wife, Paulina, spearheaded the design of the project and worked with many partners to ensure unique and personal concepts throughout. One partner on the project, Lilliana Alvarado at UPHEALING, was invaluable at incorporating the innate personality and life of Cam’s mother, Marlene.
“Marlene was a loving and caring mother who gave all to her children. We really wanted people to feel connected to who she was as a person and to feel the kindness, affection, and care that she exhibited as a mother to her children translated to the care that people will receive walking into this space, “ said Paulina Neely. "We incorporated Marlene's elegance into the feature wall, one of the most important and unique elements of the space. This area also incorporates a beautiful poem written by our son Jack as a tribute to his grandmother.”
Community support played a key role in making the construction of The Marlene Neely Center for Digestive Health possible. The annual Comics Come Home event, the longest running stand-up comedy benefit in the nation created by Denis Leary and Cam Neely raised $1.5 million in donations to support the $8 million project.