LAKEWOOD RANCH — Cancer Support Community Florida Suncoast officially opened its $6.1 million healing campus Tuesday with its distinctive 35-foot-high “Bridge of Hope,” symbolic of the encouragement and support the facility will provide at no charge to those affected by cancer.
The arch connects two main buildings on the campus, and is supported by massive pine logs harvested more than 100 years ago and recovered from the bottom of the Suwannee River.
Prior to its recent merger with Gilda’s Clubs Worldwide, the organization was known as The Wellness Community, and reported serving 11,000 persons locally since 1996.
Among them is Joyce Thompson, a breast cancer survivor, who said she detected a tumor the size of a pea during a self exam in 2007.
She credited Cancer Support Community with playing a big role in her recovery through individual counseling and participation in a breast cancer support group.
“Women, get your mammograms, and every month do a breast self-exam,” Thompson said prior to the ribbon being cut to officially open the building.
She also encouraged anyone who receives a cancer diagnosis to take advantage of programs offered by Cancer Support Community.
Dr. Dwight Fitch, a member of the facility’s professional advisory board, said he routinely suggests that his cancer patients supplement their recovery by getting support at the facility.
“I have yet to have one patient who didn’t come over and have fabulous things to say,” Fitch said.
Facilities at the center include a studio for exercise and meditation; an arts studio for children’s therapy; gallery space for patients, family members and artists; healing gardens; and technology for remote programs and podcasts; and more.
The 11,142-square-foot building is at 5481 Communications Parkway, south of University Parkway.
For more information, visit www.CancerSupportSuncoast.org.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.