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November 13, 2023

$4.5 million gift from Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation funds mobile lung cancer screening program

$4.5 million gift from Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation funds mobile lung cancer screening program

A mobile lung cancer screening program will soon take life-saving screenings to eligible high-risk Hoosiers statewide, thanks to a $4.5 million gift from the Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation that will include matching dollars from Indiana University Health, bringing its impact to $8.5 million.

The program leverages the collaborative partnership between IU Health and the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. The gift was made jointly to IU Health Foundation and the Indiana University Foundation, because it will support both patient care and research efforts focused on enhancing lung cancer screening and lowering lung cancer incidence and deaths.

Nasser Hanna, MD made the announcement at IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“We’re beyond thrilled that the Wood Family Foundation is making this mobile resource available to Hoosiers,” said Hanna, the Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation Professor of Lung Cancer Clinical Research at IU School of Medicine and an IU Health lung cancer physician. “Lung cancer screening unequivocally saves lives by catching it in its earliest and most treatable stages. All of us at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center and IU Health know how valuable these painless and safe imaging tests will be for those at risk of lung cancer–especially those who face barriers to accessing such screenings.”

Nasser Hanna, MD, Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation Professor of Lung Cancer Clinical Research

Julie Wood, the Wood family matriarch, said the gift is one in a series of gifts made in memory of her late husband, Indianapolis auto executive Tom Wood, who died of lung cancer in 2010.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue our longtime support of the cancer center through this gift,” she said. “We know Tom would be so pleased to see us doing what we can to save the lives of Hoosiers who face this terrible disease.”

The mobile program, the only one of its kind in Indiana, is expected to screen its first patient in 2025. The gift will support the build-out of the mobile CT scanner unit as well as the first year of patient care resources, staffing, operating and marketing expenses. Mobile programs allow increased access to cancer screening and prevention by bringing care to the community, rather than requiring travel to medical appointments at hospitals and healthcare centers. This is especially helpful to people in rural areas without easy access to such tests.

“We are grateful for this significant gift from the Wood Family Foundation,” said Ryan Nagy, MD, president of IU Health Methodist and University hospitals. “Their support will allow IU Health and the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center to stand up a unique program which will support communities across the state, reaching more broadly than we have previously.”

IU Health will match $4 million of the gift, the portion dedicated to the mobile screening program, making the gift’s total impact $8.5 million. The contribution is a lead gift to All the Difference: The Campaign for Indiana University Health, the statewide fundraising campaign recently announced by IU Health Foundation.

“IU Health’s size and reach give us a powerful opportunity–and a great responsibility–to lead in improving the health of Hoosiers,” said Crystal Miller, IU Health Foundation president and IU Health chief philanthropy officer. “But we can only do that with the support of visionary philanthropists like the Wood family. This gift will literally save lives, and that is the greatest impact a donor can make. I am grateful to the Woods for their foresight and generosity.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, killing more people than colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer (the second-, third-, and fourth-leading cancer killers) combined. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death. However, with early detection, done with low-dose CAT or CT scans, the mortality rate caused by lung cancer can be decreased by 20 percent. Screenings are painless and take only a few minutes. In Indiana, only 7 percent of those at high risk were screened, according to 2022 data from the American Lung Association.

Explore ways to support cancer prevention and treatment at IU Health Foundation.

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