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New Ulm Medical Center

An Expanded Cancer Center at NUMC: Closer to Reality

As donations continue to flow in, the Cancer Center Expansion and Renovation project is starting to make good progress.

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Walls are going up in the lower level of the New Ulm Medical Center clinic where the new Cancer Center is expected to open this fall. The new center will double the space of the current area where patients receive chemotherapy and infusion treatments.

When it was first approved in 2010, the goal of the project was to match the care needs of the residents of New Ulm. Patient demands at the facility have grown by 40 percent over the last five years, and there is a huge need to increase the space to keep up with demand.

At double the size of the space we have today, the proposed New Ulm renovation would meet those needs and more. Plus, the proposed “Garden of Hope” outside the center would give patients a place to be at peace and reflect on their experiences while going through treatments.

The renovation has a budget of $975,000, and a fundraising goal of $500,000. Of that, $400,000 would go toward the construction, and the other $100,000 would go toward the “Garden of Hope.”

Progress of the Renovation

Although the construction of the new cancer center has just begun, Carisa Buegler, the New Ulm Medical Center Foundation director, said that fundraising is now at 76 percent of the original goal of $500,000. This amount includes $40,000 from center employees, another $40,000 from center physicians, $27,500 from the New Ulm Medical Center Auxiliary, $140,000 from individuals in the community, $65,000 from local businesses and $59,000 from special event fundraisers.

Buegler said she has been ecstatic about the support that the project has seen so far. “The fact that over 1,000 individuals and organizations have given to this renovation is quite impressive,” she said. “In addition, over 80 donors have each given us $1,000 or more.”

Fundraising Goals: What Lies Ahead

Though support has been strong, Buegler would like to see it continue at a high level in the months ahead, as work on the renovation should finally begin. “Cancer is the number one cause of death in Brown County, and we don’t like it,” she said. “Cancer is unfair, it’s an imposition upon our daily lives, and people have shown that they want to fight it by supporting this project.”

Buegler adds that the staff of the Cancer Center, with oncologist Ettore Piroso, MD, who recently increased his hours in New Ulm to full time, and a highly trained support staff, already offers a top-notch, unprecedented level of care. Most of the nurses in the unit are oncology certified and those who are not are working to achieve that status. “Now they just need a facility to match this strong foundation care team that we’ve already built,” said Buegler. “When people give through philanthropy, they can take it to a whole new level.”

In Memoriam

Buegler also said that it is with great sadness that NUMC said goodbye to friend, volunteer and Cancer Center Campaign Chairperson, Barbara Fenske, who succumbed to cancer in July after more than 10 years of battling the disease.

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Barb Fenske

“Barb was an advocate for those who are fighting cancer in our area and was leading the campaign to help build a new Cancer Center at New Ulm Medical Center. How fortunate we were to have had her inspiration, her leadership and her friendship,” Buegler said. “In recognition of Barb’s tireless efforts, her leadership and her family’s $25,000 donation to the project - in addition to the 225 memorials totaling over $9,000 given in her memory - the NUMC Foundation Board will be honoring her by naming the future garden next to the new Cancer Center in her memory.”

The NUMC Foundation extends its deepest appreciation to Barb, for her leadership has brought us closer to making the dream of a new Cancer Center a reality for those battling cancer in the region, Buegler said.

To find out more and to watch a video about the project, go to the NUMC Foundation page. You can find out how to donate to the project there or by calling the NUMC Foundation at 507-217-5188.