Wednesday, Tufts Medical center joined forces with the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care to unveil The Michael Neely Center for Brain Tumor Care and Research and The Michael Neely Neuroscience Center.
The newly renovated wings are the first that the Cam Neely Foundation has donated to bear the name of his father, Michael Neely, who succumbed to a brain tumor in 1993.
“It’s all about patient care, treatment, research and those things [patients] can get here and they can get in a beautiful space—it makes you feel more comfortable,” Neely said.
“They have great doctors here who do wonderful things and to have a space like this at their disposal and the care that they would get here. I think it’s certainly going to be a space that, unfortunately, a lot of patients and families will come through here, but they’re going to get great treatment.”
Cam Neely was joined by over fifty friends, family members and hospital staff in the dedication of the Cam Neely Foundation’s largest single philanthropic commitment to date.
Wednesday’s ceremonies, which were held in the newly renovated wing of Tufts, included a ribbon cutting and remarks from Neely, Ellen Zane, president and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, Chief of Neurology Doctor Anish Bhardwaj, and Chief of Neuro-Surgery Doctor Carl Heilman.
“The unfortunate thing about this disease is everyone is touched by it one way, shape or form. But the biggest thing from our perspective, is how do we help people today,” Neely said to the crowd of supporters.
“And that was extremely important to the family."
Zane recognized Cam, his brother Scott and sisters Christine and Shaun, for establishing the Cam Neely Foundation in 1995 in honor of their parents Michael and Marlene and for placing the “Neely fingerprint” upon Tufts surfaces.
Prior to the start of the festivities, Neely’s wife surprised him with an etching on a wall of the entrance to the wing, commemorating Michael Neely, Cam’s father, reading, “providing comfort, support and hope to cancer patients and their families.”
The unveiling of the wall was an emotional moment for Neely, as he has a strong personal connection to the comfort the Cam Neely Foundation is able to provide.
“It’s just for myself and my family, it’s just been a very rewarding and therapeutic way to honor our parents memory,” Neely said.
“Obviously as most parents mean a lot to their children, as ours did for sure. We didn’t have tem as long as we certainly would have liked, but they made an impact on our lives and they’re continuing to make an impact on other peoples lives.
“By having the support that we’ve been giving over the years from wonderful people throughout New England, and quite frankly a lot of hockey fans were really helped kicked this off when I was still playing.
“To be able to honor our parents like this is pretty special,” he said.
Wednesday’s unveiling was just the latest chapter in the relationship between the Cam Neely Foundation and Tufts Medical Center.
The first step towards the now 16-year partnership was taken in the development of The Neely House at Tufts Medical Center, which since it’s opening in 1997 has provided a home away from home and comfort to over 5,000 cancer patients and their families.
“The fit just seemed to happen right away,” Neely said of his foundation’s relationship with Tufts.
“We were given some space to work with for The Neely House and then the support for the foundation kept growing and the projects kept growing.”
Since the opening of The Neely House, the Cam Neely Foundation has established the Neely Center for Clinical Cancer Research, The Neely Cell Therapy and Collection Center, The Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unity, and The Neely Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.
Following the dedication and remarks from Neely, Zane closed the formal portion of the event with a toast, “to Cam and the impact he has made on others lives.”