Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center celebrates grand opening with ribbon cutting

REED CITY — About one year ago, the dream of creating an $8.9 million state-of-the-art cancer facility was only an idea that began to take shape. Now, with nearly $2 million raised, the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center celebrated its grand opening Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.

Hundreds of attendees, including Spectrum Health officials, patients, county and city officials, community members and more gathered at the site, located at 4499 220th Ave. near Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital. Susan P. Wheatlake herself, along with her husband, campaign members and cancer center staff, cut the ceremonial ribbon in two.

"This is a great day for our community, but an even better day for the cancer patients we serve," said Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital President Sam Daugherty, noting the synergy between communities has brought each of them closer. "This (center) demonstrates the magic that can happen when everyone comes together for a common cause."

The day was exciting for everyone who had been a part of the center since its beginning stages and marking the ribbon ceremony in history was a great feeling to have, he added.

Wheatlake also shared her happiness and satisfaction toward the facility with attendees.

"The results exceeded my expectations," Wheatlake said. "I bubble over with pride each time I walk through that beautiful cancer center."

Once the idea of the center was a dream, but it is now a reality thanks to an "unstoppable force" that fully backed the project, she added.

Following the event, attendees were able to tour the center in its entirety and learn about the array of features it can provide from staff members who were on hand to answer questions and serve as guides. Light refreshments also were available outside.

Campaign Chair Karl Linebaugh said the contribution from each local community was important in the project's creation, as it made the task easier and quicker to complete, helped establish a relationship with the center and set great examples of philanthropy to area children. He is thankful for everyone who believed in the project, which is swiftly on its way of meeting the $2.4 million goal. Currently, $1.9 million has been raised.

"Hope," Linebaugh said. "Now it is closer to home."