Community Cancer Institute gets donation for $1 million. Here’s what it will help with

Community Cancer Institute receives $1 million donation

Community Medical Centers announces a $1 million gift from Howe Electric Construction to benefit Community Cancer Institute patients.
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Community Medical Centers announces a $1 million gift from Howe Electric Construction to benefit Community Cancer Institute patients.

The Community Cancer Institute in Clovis that opened last summer announced Friday a $1 million donation aimed at boosting services for patients.

The large contribution came from Howe Electric Construction, a 70-year-old employee-owned Fresno company which also helped build the state-of-the-art cancer institute in northeast Clovis, where the donation was announced.

“I can’t think of a better day other than Good Friday to talk about a good-willed gift from a good, local company in this community,” Community Medical Foundation CEO Katie Zenovich said.

It is the largest donation made by Howe electric since it began partnering with Community Medical Centers in 1981, according to Zenovich. Since then, the company has donated $1.7 million. The company has also helped with in-kind donations of electric services that have gone toward Community Medical Centers facilities.

Howe Electric has supported the Leon S. Peters Burn Center and Table Mountain Rancheria Trauma Center, Terry’s House, Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital and Clovis Community Medical Center expansion. Joe Howe started the company in 1949; today, his grandson Todd Howe is company president.

Zenovich said the philanthropy in the Fresno-Clovis region has been helpful in advancing the quality of care for patients, who might otherwise have to travel to other metropolitan areas for care. She said that while million-dollar donations are mostly unheard of, this hasn’t been the first one.

In just the last two-and-half years, $18 million has been raised for the cancer institute, Zenovich said. A single donation was for $9 million.

“What their dollars are doing is helping people who otherwise wouldn’t have access,” Zenovich said. She touted the hospital system’s mission of providing care for anyone regardless of need.

A special medical delegation from China toured various areas of Community Medical Centers’ hospitals. They were invited to see several care facilities for collaboration possibilities and access to higher level care.

Grateful patient

Friday’s announcement at the cancer institute’s Oncology Support Services area featured John Morris, a brain cancer patient who was among the first to be seen at the institute since it opened in August 2018. Morris said he owes “his life” to the medical staff at the Community Medical Centers.

Morris was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2018. He said he is now on his way to recovery. A few weeks ago, he said, he traveled to Cuba for 15 days and continues to heal with the help of the staff.

“The interesting thing is that all people that come into this facility are treated equally, which is damn important for me to have observed,” Morris said.

The Howe donation will go toward helping the institute’s oncology department continue to provide navigation for patients going through cancer treatment, a cost which Zenovich said isn’t covered by medical insurance. The nurse navigators help patients like Morris understand their diagnosis, the plan of care and treatment.

“We follow the patient through the journey and we help the patient manage side effects,” said Chenille Rivera, a registered nurse supervisor.

More than 1,000 patients were seen at the Community Cancer Institute in the first month since it opened, according to Zenovich. Since then, more than 50,000 individual appointments have been made.

“We want to be able to provide everyone any kind of care when they turn to us in need,” Zenovich said.

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