Beam-topping Ceremony at CRAH
The first pieces of an effort to bring cancer care to Castle Rock Adventist Hospital (CRAH) have been put into place.
A beam-topping ceremony was held on August 4. The event kicked off an expansion of the Centura Health-owned hospital in the form of a four-story medical office building, where patients
who have been diagnosed with cancer can undergo surgery, receive radiation, oncology and chemotherapy infusion treatments, and get post-surgical care. Centura Health is getting a boost from an all-volunteer group of community members who are helping to raise money for the care center.
The beam was raised to commemorate the start of vertical construction. It had a tree atop it as part of a traditional Swedish good-luck ceremony. The tree has since been planted outside the building to signify the growth and healing that will occur within the confines of the much-anticipated expansion. The ceremony was emotional for many in attendance.
Melissa Rufenacht Sanchez, chairwoman of the six-member Rock of Hope campaign, has a close connection to CRAH. It was there that she received a cancer diagnosis in 2017. The Castle Pines resident quickly realized that she would have to travel to receive oncology care, and she also learned that family support services were not available at the facilities to which she traveled. She said her passion stems from personal experience.
“Our community is so deserving of high-quality care,” said Rufenacht Sanchez. “The ultimate goal is to provide that. We want to make sure we can take care of all the needs of people in Castle Rock.”
Sean Swarner, an author, adventurer and motivational speaker who overcame two bouts of cancer and later summited Mount Everest is also a member of the campaign. The flag he planted on the summit hangs in CRAH’s lobby.
Rufenacht Sanchez, whose husband is an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, said nearly 600 people per year are diagnosed with cancer at CRAH, and she hopes no one will have to drive outside of Douglas County for care in the future.
The steering committee and four-member cultivation committee are working as ambassadors to find donors to the campaign, which is in its first phase to raise $5.5 million. The $14 million capital campaign – now underway and standing at $700,000 as of mid-August – will ensure that happens. The volunteers look forward to involving more community members in something that will benefit the Castle Rock area for years to come.
“Philanthropy is an engine that really brings people together to accomplish what they couldn’t do alone,” said Gayle Pottle, president of the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation.
There is still a lot of work to be done: more than half of the money raised will go toward the purchase of a radiation machine, around which 6-foot-thick concrete walls will be built. The yet-to-be-named medical office building will open with two surgical rooms, with two more to come in the future.
The new care center is on CRAH’s campus, northeast of Meadows Parkway and Meadows Boulevard, and is set to open in spring of 2023.
By Chris Michlewicz; photos by Terri Wiebold