REED CITY — Members of the Evart Lions Club got enthusiastically behind the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center expansion project in Reed City on Thursday when they visited the facility to offer support with a donation to the capital fundraising effort.

Lion’s Club president Terese Whitten and treasure Bill Wilder were met at the center by Irene Balowski, director of cancer services, and given a tour of the operation.

Balowski explained how the $8.9 million expansion would make treatment opportunities more accessible and much more comfortable for patients, supporting families, and staff as well.

“We are all looking forward to completion of this work,” she told the visitors. “Construction is right on schedule and we are right on budget. Everything being done here is the result of careful planning and continuing talk about how we can make every little detail most positively affect treatment outcomes for our patients.

“This new development project will make a world of difference - both in quality of care and in the numbers of people we will be able to treat.”

In the meantime, even as building crews battle winter blasts, day-to-day treatment work continues unimpeded at the center.

Patients come, are treated, and head home with little disturbance or delay.

And the need for community support continues.

Spectrum Foundation development director Christie Carlson was thrilled with the Lions Club donation and noted it came at just the right time.

“Donations and support have slowed a little,” said Carlson. “There may be a variety of reasons for this slowdown. Whatever the case, we are very, very excited that the Evart Lions have offered this impressive donation.

“Hopefully, this will encourage other local clubs and organizations to consider this a worthy cause for their fundraising or community outreach efforts as well.”

Lion’s representative Bill Wilder responded saying the Lions Club was very, very happy to be a part of the cancer center development program.

“This is all about community,” he said.

“The Lions motto is “We Serve.” This donation is obviously an expression of the sense of service we have for our community.”

Lion’s president Terese Whitten added that there were few people in the Osceola and Mecosta county communities who didn’t know someone affected by the scourge of cancer.

“Anything we can do to help reach out to friends and neighbors fighting this disease is well worth the effort and any investment we can make,’ she said.

After ground-breaking in August, a temporary addition was constructed at the north end of  north of the Crossroads Radiation Therapy Center to house a new linear accelerator.

That new ‘wing’ is set to go with staff fine-tuning the equipment before  initial use.

The Spectrum team are being trained on the new technology while construction to expand the facility at the south end of the complex moves forward despite the tough winter weather.

The new facility, including the 9,000 square foot addition, is scheduled to be open in the summer and will include new state-of-the-art technology replacing existing equipment. At that point, all phases of cancer diagnosis and treatment will be brought together under one roof.

There are many opportunities for donating to the new center including facility naming opportunities. For more information on how to donate to the new center, contact Christie Carlson, development director of the Spectrum Foundation at Reed City Hospital, at (231) 832-7184.