The “it” is the new radiation therapy center being built on the campus of Gordon Hospital, and it means that cancer patients needing radiation therapy won’t have to travel out of town to get the care that they need. Spearheading that dream is Gordon Hospital Foundation Board Chair, Helen Jones, who lost her beloved husband, Howard to cancer. Her commitment to the project is evident in that she has pledged, through the Howard Jones Cancer Foundation over the course of the next two years, $200,000 toward the completion of the building.
“I hope no one ever gets that call that they have cancer,” says Jones. “But if they do, they can rest assured knowing that their local community can provide the care and treatment that they need.”
Jones turned her personal tragedy into a mission to improve the healthcare for her entire community. “I knew that I wanted to do something…to give back and to fight this dreaded disease in some way, but wasn’t sure how to do it. Howard was an avid golfer and helped get Fields Ferry started so I thought it would be good to raise cancer funds through a golf tournament.”
The tournament, now in its ninth year, raised $30,000 the first year and she (more) Howard Jones Cancer Foundation Kicks Off Campaign….Page 2 donated the money to the American Cancer Society. Then the hospital began developing and opened the Cancer Resource Center for patients and family members. That was the start of a wonderful partnership, as she had found a local cause that could benefit from the money that she was raising. Each year, the golf tournament grew and so did the Foundation’s resources. Then the hospital announced that the state of Georgia, through its Certificate of Need or CON, had opened up the opportunity to add radiation therapy.
Applications were filed to take advantage of the opportunity and after a long and arduous battle to gain the CON, Gordon was notified that it had received the okay to proceed with construction.
“That was one of the best days that I can remember,” says Jones. “Finally, we were ready to begin working on adding this much needed service.” As Foundation Board Chair, Jones is responsible for helping lead the capital campaign, which will help offset expenses of the construction project.
“I challenge everyone to get on board and give to this worthy cause,” says
Jones. “It’s hard to find someone that has not had a friend, a loved one, a family member that has not been affected by cancer. And when you are sick, you just don’t feel like driving out of town for treatment and its hard for families as well as they try to get loved ones to and from appointments that are no less than 30 minutes away—one way.
Having this service right here in Calhoun will help residents for years and years to come.”
Pete Weber, president and CEO of Gordon Hospital, lauds Jones’ dedication to the project. “This $200,000 donation is a great way to begin our fundraising efforts,” says Weber, “and Helen is the perfect person to chair this project. Her passion for bringing additional cancer care services to our community is contagious. We are so thankful, not only for her donation to the project, but for her, and her personal commitment to make this campaign a huge success. We couldn’t do it without her.”
Jones is quick to point out that she hasn’t raised this money alone. “I have to say thank you to the many individuals who have sponsored, played in, volunteered or just given a donation to the Howard Jones Golf Benefit. This is our victory together and it means that we have made a tremendously positive difference in the lives of the residents of our community. For that, I will be forever grateful and want to say thank you so much for helping turn my dream into a wonderful reality, but I am going to challenge each of you…don’t try to keep up with the Jones’ try to outdo them.”