Straight Talk

April 16, 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Over the past decade, NCH has earned a deserved reputation for the quality of its cancer care. And much of the reason was on display this past Saturday night at the eighth biennial Magnolia Ball to support NCH’s cancer programs.

The event was graciously hosted by Sandra and Alan Gerry at their wonderful beachfront home and attracted many of our most generous and supportive neighbors. The Magnolia Ball was chaired by one of our most cherished family donors, Simone and Scott Lutgert, a former NCH board member. The Lutgert family’s long support for cancer programs at NCH started decades ago with Lutgert East and West buildings on the downtown campus, home to radiation therapy and medical oncology, respectively. Scott’s father, Raymond Lutgert, was an early generous supporter years ago of NCH’s use of the CyberKnife technology which was so important at that time.

Cancer is still a formidable disease, affecting half of all men and one-third of all women ( The Magnolia Ball, created in 2001 by Suzanne and Robert Chute, has contributed more than $8 million dollars to cancer care for the citizens of Southwest Florida. Thanks largely to the Ball, over the past 14 years, we have renovated our downtown and North Naples outpatient infusion centers, upgraded special hospital rooms for patients spending prolonged time in the hospital for treatment, added specialized equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and introduced a breast health program, and supported other critical programs.

This year’s Magnolia support will be directed to renovating the William and Susan Dalton Oncology Unit, located on 4- South of the downtown campus. This special caring place was last updated a decade ago and has been heavily utilized by patients and families needing sophisticated inpatient cancer care. We were pleased Sue Dalton and her family joined us for this wonderful occasion.

Florida Cancer Specialists and 21st Century Oncology continue to provide the majority of the cancer care at NCH. Working together with the general surgeons and the rest of the NCH Medical Staff, we are able to document better outcomes and more compassionate care, corroborated by objective third party reviewers.

Most recently, the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons has granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation to the cancer program at NCH. To earn voluntary accreditation, a cancer program must meet or exceed 34 quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care. Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation is only awarded to facilities that exceed standard requirements at the time of its triennial survey. NCH is at the Silver level, which is next to the top. We are on a continuous journey to strive for Gold.

Saturday’s Ball, staged on a delightful Naples spring night, was a wondrous affair, with The Ritz-Carlton team exceeding expectations on the logistics. Kudos to the entire NCH Foundation for executing this unique and very successful event. Best of all, the evening supported such a noble cause of helping our family and friends facing the challenge of cancer.

There are many reasons why NCH and community healthcare has thrived in southwest Florida for so many years. One key reason is the extraordinary team of community leaders, who compose the patron base of the Magnolia Ball. We are fortunate, indeed, to have them with us.


Allen Weiss, M.D. Signature

Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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