Windermere couple donates $5 million to cancer treatment
| 7:20 a.m. October 22, 2015
ORLANDO Windermere residents Roy and Dee Haley donated $5 million to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to expand pediatric cancer services at the hospital.
Half of the donation will establish a new pediatric bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy program. The other portion will be used to fun the hospital’s future needs as cancer-treatment technology progresses. More of the donation could go toward the bone marrow transplant program if that is identified as the greatest need in the future.
The Haleys made their donation in honor of a boy they know who was diagnosed with a complex brain cancer around his optic nerve when he was just 1 year old. He wasn’t expected to live, but he is now 22.
As technology progresses, Roy Haley hopes to see advancements in treatments that won’t have the side effects and risks of chemotherapy and radiation.
“Cancer is not like fixing a broken bone or taking out someone’s tonsils or even other very significant types of surgery,” he said. “A child with cancer may be in the hospital on a full-time basis anywhere from several months to a year or more. But their treatments go on for a very long time, in some cases as long as 10 years or more.”
The Haleys gave toward the bone marrow transplant program because it is a pressing need for cancer treatment at the hospital. Doctors say 10 to 15% of all cancer patients could need bone marrow or other cellular treatments.
“In some ways, a gift like this is a gift to the hospital,” he said. “But in a way, it’s more a gift to the clinical staff — the doctors, the nurses, the technicians and other support staff that take care of kids. It, of course, is an investment in the kids.”
In response to the donation, the cancer center was renamed the Haley Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders. The pediatric bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy program will be housed in an existing space in the hospital. The space will contain two hospital rooms designed with enough room for a patient to live in for a few weeks at a time. The rooms will be ventilated to guard against infection.
The program will allow patients to stay at the hospital for bone marrow transplants, without having to travel to hospitals in Gainesville or St. Petersburg.