News Release: Executive’s world changed with cancer diagnosis, but found hope at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center

Groundbreaking of new nine-story building will provide more patients with individualized care

Jacksonville, Fla., June 23, 2016 – When Brandy Eger’s world was turned upside down after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, she didn’t know how she would make it through.

One of the places the senior bank executive found comfort was in the infusion area at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center where nurses were by her side for hours as she received her treatments. Some held her hand. Others made suggestions on how to deal with side effects and avoid dehydration.

“Without them, I would have struggled. They were there for me all the way through and were just so supportive and sweet,” said 41-year-old Brandy, who finished her treatments in April. “I have two boys so there really was no other option for me except to pull myself up and move on and beat this. To stop for me would have been choosing not to live and that was not a choice.”

Baptist MD Anderson hopes to help even more people like Brandy after breaking ground this morning on a more than 330,000-square-foot addition to the current Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center. The nine-story building, which anticipates opening by mid-2018, will be constructed on a two-block tract of land directly across San Marco Boulevard from the current Baptist MD Anderson. The more than $150 million addition will dramatically expand the comprehensive cancer care available and provide inspiration and hope for cancer patients through state-of-the-art cancer treatment.

“This expansion marks another milestone to Baptist MD Anderson continuing to provide a single destination for highly coordinated, integrated oncology care for adult cancer patients and their families in our community and the broader region,” said Hugh Greene, FACHE, president and CEO of Baptist Health.

Baptist MD Anderson opened in October 2015 in a renovated, four-story, 100,000-square-foot building at 1235 San Marco Blvd. combining the strengths of Baptist Health Jacksonville, the largest health care system in Northeast Florida, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the leading cancer program in the country. Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center represents the third partner member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a far-reaching collaborative program of health care systems focused on eradicating cancer through education, research, prevention and treatment. Physicians at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston collaborate to better serve patients and their families.

“We are focused on saving lives and curing cancer,” said Bill Putnam, MD, medical director for Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center replicates the proven care provided at MD Anderson and ensures high-quality outcomes for patients. Patients at Baptist MD Anderson receive integrated cancer care treatment, advanced technologies and leading-edge treatments without leaving the area. All services are tailored to the patient’s specific illness and physical, emotional and spiritual needs.”

The new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center will house all the outpatient services a cancer patient needs including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, imaging, infusion, research and support services. Specially trained oncology nurses, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists, nutritionists, chaplains and genetic risk assessment specialists consult with physicians so the entire scope of the patient’s well-being is addressed.

When completed, an elegant skybridge will connect the current Baptist MD Anderson to the new iconic building being constructed through a partnership between Jacksonville-based Perry-McCall Construction and DPR Construction’s Orlando office. Both have extensive experience in the health care industry. HKS Architects Inc., an international company with an office in Orlando, and FreemanWhite, a Haskell Company dedicated exclusively to health care, are the design team.

The new state-of-the-art cancer center is being built to focus on the patient’s needs from the time of arrival, to when he or she enters the center, as well as their individualized treatment plan. An open courtyard and garden in the center, for example, will provide natural lighting, warmth and comfort for patients and their families.

The main entrance will front Palm Avenue and have ample space for drop off or pick up, and valet parking. A four-story parking deck will be built for about 600 cars designated for patients, families and physicians of the cancer center.

Other elements of the design include wide walkways along San Marco, a new multiuse bike and pedestrian path from Palm Avenue to the railroad tracks along Nira Street, and a large green space at the northeast corner of the new cancer center. A large Pedestrian Plaza at San Marco Boulevard and Nira Street will also tie into the multiuse bike and pedestrian path.

For Brandy, she’s encouraged by the growth of the center and still comes for periodic checkups. During her treatment, she was given a combined therapy that uses traditional chemotherapy medication along with two antibodies to tackle HER2-positive (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2). The therapy is administered preoperatively in order to shrink the tumor and minimize the risk of the cancer metastasizing.

“With more precision and selectivity, the medication goes straight in and binds to the receptor and makes it harder for cancer cells to divide and grow,” said Robert Zaiden, MD, Brandy’s medical oncologist at Baptist MD Anderson.

Now on maintenance medication, Brandy tells her story to encourage others.

“It’s hard, no question about it. But you can get through,” Brandy said.

For more information on Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, go to

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