Anonymous donor contributes millions to Valley View’s cancer treatment services

Clarification: Based on information provided by Valley View Hospital, the Post Independent originally reported the endowment would pay salaries for Calaway-Young Cancer Center’s integrated therapies; however, the hospital pays staff salaries, and the endowment is slated to support services provided by integrated therapies staff.

A $2 million donation to the Valley View Calaway-Young Cancer Center could ensure patients have access to therapeutic treatments, lodging assistance and lower-cost medical bills for the foreseeable future.

While the donor remained anonymous, the donation is slated to start a permanent endowment, which could allow Valley View’s cancer patients to benefit from the funds in perpetuity, according to a Valley View Hospital news release.

“The goal is to grow the endowment to about $8 million,” said Dr. Stephen Mayer, the cancer center’s medical director. “If we can accumulate $8 million over the next few years, that amount of income will generate enough revenue to fund integrated therapies forever, provided the economy remains in a similar state.”

Integrated therapies include therapeutic massages, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture and other treatments designed to help patients manage the physical, mental and emotional challenges often associated with a cancer diagnosis.

“Being able to provide this array of treatment options is fairly unique for a small-town cancer center,” Mayer said. “As an oncologist, when you’re dealing with treatment side effects chemotherapy and various other medications, integrated therapies give us an option to enhance how our patients feel, rather than just provide another side effect.”

Built in 2012, the Calaway-Young Cancer Center is home to a nationally renowned, highly skilled, innovative and respected team of providers with accreditations for the most advanced technologies and cancer treatment options in the U.S, the news release states. Its reach extends beyond the Roaring Fork Valley to include patients from Rifle, Steamboat Springs, Grand Junction, Meeker and beyond.

Mayer, who became a physician as a second career following 15 years as a molecular biologist, was named in the donation, honoring the doctor’s service, the news release states.

Cancer treatment, however, goes far beyond the work of any individual, Mayer said.

“I’m honored, but delivering cancer care is not a one-man job,” he said. “It takes a team, and we have an excellent team of care providers.”

Valley View’s Manager of Integrated Therapies, Jo Bershenyi, said the endowment will help fund services provided by integrated therapies staff as well as provide financial assistance to patients.

“We have patients that come from all over the Western Slope,” Bershenyi said. “Radiation therapy is a five-day a week treatment that often leaves patients too drained to drive several hours back and forth each day.”

The endowment will help fund gas and meal cards as well as lodging assistance for those who are struggling with the treatment costs.

Calaway-Young has patients in every income bracket, Mayer said.

“We take care of people who can’t afford to give a whole lot — undocumented immigrants, uninsured residents and more,” he said.

“The endowment will provide a cushion. We provide the care first and figure out the financial end later.”

Bershenyi said the hospital is able to continue serving every patient, regardless of income, with a high level of care because of donations like this.

“This is a program that is unique to our hospital that our community supports wholeheartedly, and we are so grateful,” she said. “It’s humbling every day to be able to provide this level of care to our patients because of the generosity of our community.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at

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