John Stoddard Cancer Center Announces It Takes You Comprehensive Campaign

Apr 04, 2022

John Stoddard Cancer Center, a service of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, has launched the public phase of It Takes You, a comprehensive fundraising campaign. The campaign will invest $18 million into the cancer center over the next three years with a community fundraising goal of $6 million to support critical elements of treatment beyond medical expenses. The campaign will designate $9 million for capital and equipment upgrades and $9 million will be invested in programs and services.

“For more than 30 years, the team at the John Stoddard Cancer Center has been committed to bringing the latest technology, advanced expert care, and comprehensive individualized treatment plans to each patient,” says David Stark, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. “We were the first cancer center in Central Iowa to house all radiation oncology and ancillary services in one location and we continue to lead the way with the highest quality cancer care.”

Iowa's population is growing by roughly 15,000 people per year with much of that growth in Central Iowa. In addition, cancer rates are growing. Iowa is sixth in the nation for annual new cancer diagnosis per capita 2 and the number of new cancer diagnosis will increase by 10 percent in the next 5 years. In 2022, nearly 20,000 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer. 

The John Stoddard Cancer Center is uniquely equipped to provide specialized, compassionate care for cancer patients and their families, but we need the help of our community to ensure we can meet the growing needs of our community now and into the future.
Donors are critical members of our care team here at Stoddard. Every donation, of any size, helps patients heal. Whether it’s providing a comforting meal at the end of a long day or investing in life-saving technology, each donation makes an impact on our patients. We can’t do what we do without our community’s support.

Sarah Zeidler, FACHE
Executive Director, John Stoddard Cancer Center

The It Takes You campaign will invest $9 million in capital that ensures Central Iowa has access to the most technologically advanced cancer treatment. This capital investment began in early March 2022 with the purchase of a new Halcyon linear accelerator - the first-of-its-kind in the state of Iowa. Like other treatment machines at John Stoddard Cancer Center, the Halcyon will be equipped with the most advanced image guidance system, AlignRT, that allows treatment to be extremely precise, preserving healthy tissue and minimizing side effects. Additionally, this advanced technology allows many cancers to be treated without permanent markings or tattoos.

"The new Halcyon machine delivers radiation therapy to cancer patients four times faster than other machines,” says Robert Isaak, MD, PharmD, medical director of Radiation Oncology at John Stoddard Cancer Center. "The shorter treatment time makes it easier for patients to remain still and will help reduce their pain, discomfort and anxiety."

An additional $9 million will be invested into support programs and services to provide invaluable care, comfort and connection for patients when they need it most. The cost of cancer extends well beyond medical expenses as patients face the stress of the unknowns while “normal” life does not stop. Dollars raised throughout this campaign will support services such as mental health and well-being programs, cancer education, community outreach, and financial assistance for patients to alleviate the unexpected costs of cancer. Most of these programs and services are only possible because of donor support and some are funded 100 percent through philanthropy.

“There is a difference between providing treatment and providing care,” shares Andrew Nish, MD, medical director at John Stoddard Cancer Center. “Everyone on our team cares so much for our patients and families that they will do anything in their power to make their lives better. Our team works together to deliver the best care for each patient while also caring for them as a whole person.”

It Takes You

The It Takes You campaign will ensure Central Iowa has access to the most technologically advanced cancer treatment. You can help make an impact in our community.