City of Hope has received $50 million from Lennar Foundation, the largest single contribution to City of Hope Orange County, which will speed plans to open the Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine next year.
“It’s impossible to say how many ways a gift of this magnitude can affect our work,” says Annette Walker, president of City of Hope Orange County. She points out that 20 percent of O.C. residents with cancer need to leave the county for treatment. “This is a vital and needed resource. Lennar saw what we want to bring to the community that they love, too, and made this very generous contribution.”
City of Hope Orange County is on track to invest $1 billion in the Irvine campus, which will include the 190,000-square-foot center plus a hospital dedicated exclusively to treating cancer, slated to open in 2025.
“(The donation) underscores how the community is embracing City of Hope in Orange County,” says Larry Zeiber, the vice president of philanthropy for City of Hope Orange County. “It’s a signal to our existing friends and also to new ones. It will change the future of specialized cancer care in Orange County.”
The center, scheduled to open in August of 2022, is expected to provide access for O.C. residents to thousands of doctors and researchers as well as the latest technology, innovative treatment options, and clinical trials. But Walker is emphatic that what the campus really represents is more than technologically superior rooms with medical breakthroughs.
“When people are sick, particularly with cancer, it has this paralyzing impact sometimes. The amount of time for instance: you might be there all day,” she says. “We recognize that what we’re building isn’t just a building; it’s a place of hope and healing. We tell everyone working on it, be intentional about the work. Understand that this might be a room you’re in or your mother is in or your child is in. This is sacred ground. This is a place where miracles happen.”