MuellerThe new $20 million Baylor Scott & White Cancer Center - Round Rock has surpassed its fundraising goal of $5 million after receiving a significant boost from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation in November. In December 2015, the foundation issued a challenge grant, offering to match $1 million if the campaign raised the same amount within a year. The campaign met the challenge a month ahead of time, says Stephen Maher, director of philanthropy for the Round Rock region at the Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation, and received the $1 million check from the Mabee Foundation on November 28, 2016. “That helped us reach our $5 million goal early,” Mr. Maher says, “and we’ve continued fundraising from there.”

The cancer center will be located on the ground floor of the four-story specialty clinic being constructed on the campus of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Round Rock. It will serve the needs of patients in the Round Rock-Austin area, one of the nation’s fastest-growing population centers. When the population rises, the demand for cancer care also increases, Mr. Maher says. The area had 6,620 new cancer cases in 2016, or the equivalent of 18 new diagnoses a day. It’s expected that the number of new cancer diagnoses will proportionally outpace the population growth, in line with nationwide trends, he says.

“This area is experiencing tremendous growth, and it’s our job to take care of the people in our community,” says Mr. Maher.

The 35,000-square-foot cancer center will bring together under one roof all aspects of cancer care—medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, gynecological oncology, and neuro-oncology—along with support programs and services. With the addition of radiation oncology to the services already provided at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Round Rock, patients will no longer have to travel 45 miles to Temple or seek care closer to home but outside the Baylor Scott & White system.

A healing gift to help others

“Traveling for radiation treatment can be a burden, especially when patients have to go to Austin,” says Tom Burdett. He and his wife, Carlie, are co-chairs of the cancer center campaign. “It’s not that far distance-wise,” Mr. Burdett says, “but time-wise, with the traffic, it’s extremely inconvenient for patients and their families.” Families will be able to access this care, and so much more, close by with the opening of the new cancer center.

Mr. Maher says those who have donated to the Baylor Scott & White Cancer Center – Round Rock campaign, including individuals, corporations, civic clubs, and family foundations, recognize the need for a comprehensive cancer center in the region. “The community responded to and supported us,” he says.

One of those donors is Mr. Burdett’s neighbor, Merle Mueller of Georgetown’s Sun City. Mr. Mueller, a retired aeronautical engineer, made a gift to the campaign in memory of his wife, Wanda, who was treated for cancer at Baylor Scott & White and died in November 2014. The cancer center’s new healing garden will be named in her honor.

Previously, the Muellers were active in raising funds for the existing healing garden at the Round Rock hospital. Mr. Mueller says his wife understood its benefits. “She knew it would be good for people with cancer to have the healing garden for recuperation and enjoyment.”

Mr. Mueller is proud to be part of the cancer center campaign. “It does my heart good,” he says. “It feels like I’m helping others as well as contributing to something that honors the memory of my wife.”

Soon, many patients will enjoy the healing benefits of exceptional, convenient cancer care in Round Rock, and the beautiful garden that bears Wanda Mueller’s name.