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Judith Feeney, RN, OCN treating a patient at GBMC's Radiation Oncology Center.

One Location, One Team, One Transformational Donor

September 2, 2021
Sandy Berman watched numerous friends and family members go through a cancer journey at GBMC. And while her respect for the team, gratitude for positive outcomes, and support of services only grew stronger with time, there was one thing that wouldn’t leave her mind.

“I wanted all of the oncology programs to be housed in one building,” Berman said. “This was my goal. I just found it too difficult for somebody who has cancer and is going through that journey to walk from one building to another.”

Thanks to a transformational lead gift she and her husband, Malcolm, made to GBMC as well as her determination to see the project come to life, Berman’s dream will be realized as part of The Promise Project.

In Spring 2023, GBMC will break ground on the Sandra R. Berman Pavilion, a two-story, 70,000 square foot building that will consolidate cancer care services at GBMC, allowing patients to see all their providers in one place. The building will include centralized symptom management, an oncology pharmacy, and lab as well as space dedicated to integrative medicine including acupuncture, meditation, and music therapy. Wellness rooms, a healing garden, a nutritious café, and a yoga studio are planned, and parking underneath the building will be central to the design.

“I cannot give enough words of gratitude to Sandy Berman, Malcolm Berman, and the entire Berman family. Their support has been long and deep. They have supported the program not only financially but also from their spirit. And they have believed in it,” said Paul Celano, MD, FACP, FASCO, Herman and Walter Samuelson Medical Director of the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute. “This whole building, it really was Sandy Berman’s determination and steadfastness to see this building to fruition. She remained undeterred and completely committed, but she also exhibited a lot of patience to get this project started. It’s only happening because of her commitment and determination and that has been extraordinary.”

Fellow leaders in the Cancer Institute appreciate the support and commitment, as well as the honest partnership Berman has provided throughout the years.

“Sandy comes from the perspective of always thinking about what it was like and what it is like to be a patient and a family member,” Michael Stein, MHSA, FACMPE, Executive Director of Oncology Services at GBMC, said. “Dr. Celano and I really appreciate that perspective because it comes from a place of love, a place of kindness, and thinking about our patients. She is a true friend of the program.”

Berman's thoughtfulness and foresight redesigns a space to support all aspects of a patient’s journey with cancer and gives the care team an opportunity to advance a vision of providing the most effective and coordinated multidisciplinary cancer care.

"This gift is a profound statement about the Bermans’ commitment to helping those in need. Their generosity will ease the burden for people dealing with cancer and dramatically improve the patient and family experience," said John B. Chessare, MD, MPH, President and CEO of GBMC HealthCare.

A portion of funding for construction ($20 million) will come from fundraising, a goal of which is 79 percent funded as of August 12, thanks to the Bermans’ lead gift, which also inspired several others. Their generous commitment was the last step in a steadfast resolve to see the project through. For Sandy Berman, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when.

“It was never pushed to the side, but GBMC had to be ready to do it,” Berman said. “Now is the perfect time. GBMC makes patients feel like they are respected as individuals not as a number. Our physicians know each patient. The people who have gone there for chemotherapy know the nurses who are there; the oncology nurses go out of their way to help. It’s an outstanding group of people treating you in a community environment.”

As an avid philanthropic supporter of many GBMC programs, most notably oncology, as well as a leader serving on GBMC’s Board of Directors for more than 10 years, Berman is invested in growing the vision of GBMC – to care for patients as if they were our own loved ones. Because for her, it is her loved ones. The Berman family’s investment in the Sandra R. Berman Pavilion is a robust and gracious gift to the community and oncology patients for years to come.

To learn more about The Promise Project, the Sandra R. Berman Pavilion, track fundraising progress and learn how to make your promise, visit The Promise Project website.
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