Officials from Silver Cross Hospital and the University of Chicago Medical Center said they've formed a "perfect partnership" in opening a state-of-the-art cancer center in New Lenox.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people toured the new facility, which is on the replacement hospital campus near Interstate 355 and Route 6. The facility will open for patients June 25.
According to Silver Cross, there are about 4,800 people in Will County who are diagnosed with cancer each year. And 70 percent of them were traveling outside of the county for their treatment.
"To us, that was simply unacceptable," Silver Cross CEO Paul Pawlak said. "They should be able to see their doctors and receive their chemotherapy and radiation treatments close to home where and when it is convenient."
So Silver Cross eventually found a partner in the University of Chicago Medical Center, one of just two comprehensive cancer centers in the state.
The building is named the Carolyn J. Czerkies Pavilion. She died at 59 after battling myeloma, or cancer of the bone marrow. Her husband, Joliet businessman Ed Czerkies, donated $1.5 million to fund the cancer center. He and his sons were on hand Tuesday.
"I remember how difficult it was for our family," Czerkies said. "So when I heard about the new cancer center at Silver Cross, I knew it was a good project and something that I wanted to be a part of."
Following a media tour, the hospital put on a public grand opening that included public tours, a farmers market and free cooking and gardening demonstrations.
The $21.6 million cancer center, developed by HSA PrimeCare, connects to the rest of the hospital campus, which opened back in February.
The University of Chicago Medicine oncology department will occupy 10,224 square feet of the building, and a University-Silver Cross Hospital joint practice in oncology will occupy 9,661 square feet. To schedule an appointment, call 1-855-UCM-1400.
Read more from the hospital's opening day: