By the time I graduated from high school, the mothers of two friends fell victim to cancer, my uncle died from pancreatic cancer, and my aunt miraculously survived aggressive, bilateral breast cancer. Since then—quite a few years now—I couldn’t begin to count the number of people in my life who have succumbed to cancer and the even greater numbers of people who have survived one or more bouts with cancer. All this is to say that every single one of us will be affected by cancer, probably many times, during the course of our lives.
Health News website says that 41 percent of us will get cancer at some point in our lives. Twenty-one percent of us will die from it. This means that even if we’re in the 59 percent that gets through life without a direct encounter with cancer, we will likely know many people who are not so fortunate. The good news is that treatments continue to be more refined, targeted and effective. Unlike when my school friends’ mothers, my uncle and my aunt got cancer, there are lots of resources available. Among the best in the country is right here in Utah, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).
Founded in 1995 by Jon Huntsman, Sr. (father of the 2012 presidential primary candidate and U.S. Ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011, Jon Huntsman, Jr.), HCI is a state-of-the-art facility committed to research, education and compassionate patient care. The senior Huntsman is chairman and founder of Huntsman Corporation, a multinational chemical manufacturing and marketing business with world headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Searching for a Better Way
The story of HCI’s origins is a familiar one: Jon Huntsman, Sr. got cancer. He sought treatment, and with the expertise of doctors and support of his family, he emerged a survivor. That was his first bout with cancer, but not his last. He survived a second encounter years later.
Through his cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery—which took place at top facilities across the United States—he felt a void in cancer care. “It felt impersonal, and for a disease in which treatment is often ongoing, it took place in environments that were cold and medical, places less conducive to healing.” During his journey to recovery, Mr. Huntsman and his wife, Karen, committed themselves to advancing cancer research and care for others, including the atmosphere in which that care takes place.
In 1995, the Huntsman family pledged $100 million to construct a state-of-the-art cancer center in Salt Lake City. Shortly thereafter, the Huntsmans pledged another $125 million. More than a decade later, Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital is world-renowned. The individualized care patients receive from multidisciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, radiation therapists, and pharmacists helps heal their bodies. Social workers and support groups help patients keep their spirits strong, and a wellness program helps them maintain fitness and good health with diet, specialized bodywork and exercise—including yoga—appropriate to their condition during treatment and beyond.
In the coming weeks, we will spotlight different aspects of HCI’s extensive programs.
We are excited to support HCI’s mission with a donation of a percentage of our profits from your purchases during April through June 2014.