Boston, MA -- On Monday evening, May 13th, The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center celebrated the opening and dedication of The Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
"This unit is, in fact, the first of its kind in Boston and far beyond," said Ellen Zane, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center. "I would venture to say, that no matter where you go, you would never see a clinical space that has the kind of patient centered, family-oriented care that we have."
A very unique facility, The Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit offers children and their families both closeness and a home-like environment during the ultra intensive bone marrow transplant process.
Patients receiving bone marrow transplantation typically undergo lengthy periods of isolation and family members must “gown up” every time they want to be with their child. This new 5,900-square-foot unit within the Floating Hospital combines comfortable apartments steps away from state-of-the-art bone marrow transplantation rooms and puts both in a protected environment that allows parents to move freely and spend quality time with their children during lifesaving treatments.
"Once I became a parent I certainly understood that even though parents have access to the Neely House, it was too far away from their children," said Cam Neely. "And as any parent would understand, they would be happier to stay in a chair in their child's room.
"We were very fortunate that we were able to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish."
What The Neely Foundation has accomplished in concert with Tufts Medical Center is breathtaking.
The new unit builds on the success of The Neely House, an innovative home for the families of cancer patients, but this version of the Neely House is just yards away from patient care areas.
"This is why you now see, what I like to call a mini-Neely House, just down the corridor and footsteps away from their child," said Cam's brother, Scott Neely. "It is an unprecedented concept and we are proud that we have created this unique space."
"We had a vision of getting parents as close to their children as possible," added Cam. "I never expected it to turn out the way it did.
"I am so proud of all the people who worked on this project."
The Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit includes five pediatric rooms, three parent apartments, two play areas, a community kitchen and laundry facilities, providing for all the needs of patients and families in one area.
"This space is family-centered care at its best," said Scott. "We've thought about every detail, both small and large and as you look around this space you will see that we have created a space that is warm, inviting and safe.
"With soft edges, and a circular pattern them, it gives the look and feel that we think is needed in any patient space, but in particular in a children's patient space."
Cam Neely, Scott Neely, and Ellen Zane joined many people, including Boston Bruins executive vice president Charlie Jacobs, his wife Kim and Boston Bruins Foundation director of development Bob Sweeney, to celebrate the opening of this new unit and express gratitude for the individuals who funded this first-of-its-kind project in Boston.
"I would also like to recognize the contributions of the Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation and acknowledge Charlie Jacobs, his father Jeremy, Bob Sweeney, Kerry Collins and all the staff we've had the opportunity to work with," said Scott. "The Bruins Wives Carnival was the catalyst that contributed to the naming of this space a couple of years ago and have been significant contributors over the years."
Thanks to $125,000 collected during the 2006 Bruins Wives Charity Carnival, The Boston Bruins Foundation donated one of the patient rooms to the facility -- complete with three Black & Gold jerseys, a framed hockey stick and a large round window emblazoned with a frosted spoked-B.
"We've been fortunate to have a lot of great supporters from day one," said Cam. "Including the Boston Bruins Foundation -- they did a great job."
The Neely family launched the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care in 1995 after the passing of their parents Marlene and Michael Neely from cancer. The Neely Foundation has raised more than $17 million from donations of all sizes, impacted thousands of families and continues to dedicate itself to designing, funding, and completing projects with immediate and tangible results.
"I know that neither of us ever dreamed that we would have this kind of impact when we set out on this mission some 14-plus years ago to honor our parents," said Scott Neely, before turning to his brother to say, "Cam, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done to help us achieve our mission to be able to, in such a meaningful and significant way, honor the memory of mom and dad.
"I would also like to thank Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children for their partnership and a relationship that I find to be very special.
"We share a common mission and I couldn't be more proud and thankful to be able to work with so many of you at the hospital over the years," he said.
Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and the Floating Hospital for Children. Founded in 1796 as the Boston Dispensary, Tufts Medical Center is also the oldest permanent medical facility in New England and one of the first hospitals in the nation.
"This is a good fit," said Cam of his foundation's partnership with Tufts Medical Center. "This is the hospital we wanted to support and it just gets better and better and better."
"I can't thank the doctors and the staff here enough…It's just been a great relationship."