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Family extends deadline for CAMC gift match

By Candace Nelson

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A family offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to Charleston Area Medical Center's efforts to build a $15 million cancer center has extended the deadline for the hospital to match its gift.

The John L. Dickinson family gave the CAMC Foundation a $750,000 match gift on Feb. 1, which would require CAMC to raise another $750,000 on its own. That would add $1.5 million to the campaign.

CAMC has raised about $425,000 of the matching funds to date. With an April 1 deadline looming, the family agreed to extend the challenge to June 1.

"The John L. Dickinson family is a very philanthropic family and very committed to this community. They want this to be successful," said Gail Pitchford, president of the CAMC Foundation.

The foundation has raised a total of $13,650,000 for the cancer center so far.

The extended deadline comes after a meeting Wednesday where hospital officials said that the total cost of the hospital's new David Lee Cancer Center, located at the old Watt Powell Park property in Kanawha City, will be about $11 million more than the original $39 million to $40 million amount - propelling the total cost to $50 million.

The foundation's goal of $15 million will not change, and the remaining $35 million to build the cancer center has been financed through CAMC. Changes to architectural plans of the facade and foundation have been modified, said Dave Ramsey, CAMC's chief executive officer.

Of the additional $11 million price tag jump, the hospital plans to spend $3 million more to move the breast center from CAMC Women & Children's Hospital to the new center and an additional $8 million will be used on radiation oncology space, according to CAMC chief financial officer Larry Hudson.

The campaign began in 2009 in an effort to accommodate a growing number of individuals with cancer and a need for a comprehensive outpatient cancer center in southern West Virginia, according to CAMC's Cancer Services Report 2010.

"From the very beginning, we said that we were going to make this a family-first campaign. We did not feel that we could go out and ask the community to support this campaign until everyone at CAMC was committed," Pitchford said. "We went to the employees first, who were very energetic and passionate. Employees have given more than $570,000 to the campaign."

Employees from housekeepers and nurses to managers and board members have donated through payroll deductions, donating unused vacation days and more to reach the first $10 million. After that, the foundation met with families and businesses for support.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and The Dow Chemical Co. are just a few of the significant donors.

"This community has been so generous to the campaign. It's been a very humbling and amazing experience," Pitchford said. "We live in a very generous community."

The new 100,000-square-foot David Lee Cancer Center will bring all of CAMC's cancer services under one roof.

Contact writer Candace Nelson at or 304-348-5148. Follow her at


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