By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Corsicana Cancer Center had a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday next to the site behind Navarro Regional Hospital. The center will offer radiation treatments for cancer patients who currently have to drive to larger cities for daily radiation treatments that can take six weeks or more.
“The last thing somebody wants to do when they’re sick is travel 60 or 70 miles,” said Josh Rodriguez, director of business development for the Corsicana Cancer Center. “Now, patients and families won’t have to travel to Dallas or Houston to receive treatments.
“We just want to provide the citizens of Corsicana high-quality, compassionate cancer treatment,” Rodriguez explained. “We’re excited about this opportunity.”
Once constructed, the facility will be 5,600 square feet, and will take 1 million pounds of concrete, explained Mike O’Neill, one of the primary partners. The concrete bunker will contain the radioactive materials, O’Neill said.
The three Mikes, O’Neill, Mike Schooling, and Mike Rommel, formed the partnership specifically to create the Corsicana Cancer Center. Rommel is a businessman with experience in developing various kinds of businesses, including restaurants, entertainment venues, hardware stores, real estate deals and others, while Schooling and O’Neill have 30 years of medical and technical backgrounds.
The primary focus of the cancer center will be the radiation treatments, and while they will have the capability to provide chemotherapy, that form of treatment is already available in Corsicana from other providers. No one else is offering radiation.
Urging the development of the center is Jim Acker, who began his campaign to get the center more than four years ago. In addition to his work at Heritage Oaks, Acker has been a Road to Recovery volunteer through the American Cancer Society, one of the drivers who shuttle cancer patients back and forth to treatments in other cities.
Acker was on hand for the ground-breaking, pleased to see the progress, even if it took awhile to come to fruition.
“He’s been our champion,” Schooling said of Acker.
The official greetings were offered up by elected officials Mayor Pro-Tem Ruby Williams and County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr.
“We’re so elated to have this opportunity to welcome you to the sweet city of Corsicana,” Williams said. “We appreciate you. We’re grateful for you establishing an oncology center here in Corsicana and we’re looking forward to all the things you have to offer.”
Davenport echoed those sentiments.
“We’re tickled you guys are here,” he said. “We’re always wanting to improve the services we have here.”
Community National Bank is backing the project. Rodriguez said the projected opening will be Sept. 1. Construction should be completed this summer, with at least four to eight weeks necessary to install and set up the high-tech equipment.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com