Jonesboro community cuts ribbon for NEA Baptist cancer center

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro community cut ribbon Saturday for the NEA Baptist Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care, the first of its kind in Region 8.

Wallace and Jama Fowler of Jonesboro made the largest donation in Baptist Memorial Care's 101-year history. The gift created the Fowler Family Patient Assistance Endowment, which will help cover cancer treatment costs for patients and their families.

"The opportunity to really bring that care to northeast Arkansas is what drove the donation," said Chris Fowler, one of Wallace and Jama Fowler's sons.

The Fowler family wanted cancer patients in northeast Arkansas to get treatment in northeast Arkansas.

"It will allow people not to have to drive to Memphis to Little Rock to receive world-class care," Fowler said. "The physicians, the team they've lined up here at NEA Baptist is incredible."

The cancer center is a one-stop shop for patients and their families. It offers state of the art radiation therapy, chemotherapy and clinical research, all in a comfortable, peaceful environment.

The center also houses HopeCircle, a free program that offers support to cancer patients and their families from volunteers, who are mostly cancer survivors.

"You make friends when you're going through treatment," Fowler said. "The opportunity to make those friends and have a network closer to home is just something that I think will help the survival rates even more here."

The cancer center holds a special place in the Fowler family's heart because many are cancer survivors. Chris is a two-year survivor of throat cancer.

"It was an interesting time for both myself and my wife because we had to drive to Little Rock every day for a 20-minute treatment," Fowler said. "Now, the people here and everybody in this area can stay here."

"When you have cancer, on average, you go see your physician 100 times in one year," said Jason Little, the Baptist Memorial Health Care President and CEO. "To be able to do all of that under one roof of caring professionals is a privilege we look forward to providing for years to come."

NEA Baptist will now be a support system to cancer patients and their families, something Little and Fowler said is vital to survival.

"The team, the physicians, the nurses, the facility that NEA has put together here is a life changer for everybody who walks through the front door."

Fowler's message to those still fighting: never, never give up.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.