Memorial Health Care System will be able to better serve people at risk of or battling cancer, thanks to a large donation from a prominent Hamilton County resident and leader.
Hamilton County Commissioner Fred Skillern and his wife, Bettye, donated $3 million to the hospital today to fund a new cancer institute in honor of their late son, Fredrick Rees Skillern Jr.
Skillern said the donation came largely from his son Rees' estate.
Rees died in 2012 after a long battle with multiple cancers and received much of his treatment at Memorial. He was 49.
Skillern said it was his son's wish to give back to the hospital to better help the community.
“The people that cleaned his room, the people who cleaned him … that brought him food, that nursed him and nurtured him. They were a great group, a great team. It left a wonderful impression on him and on us,” Skillern said Wednesday. “He spent 42 days in there and walked out on his own. They were so good to him, and we just want them to be good for more people.”
In a prepared statement today, Memorial said the donation will pay for the Rees Skillern Cancer Institute, an umbrella for programs including the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Center, the H. Clay Evans Johnson Radiation Center and the Schmissrauter Center for Cancer Support.
Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...