Her lead gift helped purchase a new cancer treatment system
Mrs. Athena Blackburn is an important figure in San Francisco philanthropic circles and supports numerous organizations and causes that are near to her heart. Assisting California Pacific Medical Center in detecting and treating breast cancer has been very important to her.
With Mrs. Blackburn’s lead gift, the Medical Center launched a $1 million campaign for the Athena T. Blackburn Radiotherapy Suite, completed in March 2006. Her gift helped purchase the new state-of-the-art cancer treatment machine that incorporates Extracranial Stereotactic Radiation treatment. This new equipment is truly a marvel of technology which enables the treatment team to accurately guide the radiation beams to the tumor in real time.
“I felt it was my responsibility,” she said about this gift. “My life was saved at CPMC, so I wanted to do something for my doctor, for the terrific team at the medical Center and for other people with cancer.”
“Cancer isn’t a death sentence,” she said. “It’s a frightening disease and a terribly challenging treatment process, but this new machine will help. It’s my way of saying thank you.” In gratitude for her generosity and leadership in this campaign, the Foundation honored Mrs. Blackburn as the 2005 Outstanding Individual Donor.
Her commitment helps CPMC provide excellent care to breast cancer patients
Mrs. Blackburn remains deeply committed to helping CPMC provide excellent care to breast cancer patients. In 2007, her generous support helped launch the Sister to Sister Breast Health Project at CPMC's Breast Health Services. The Sister to Sister Project provides no-cost screening mammograms, biopsies and cancer treatment to uninsured San Francisco residents in underserved populations. To date, over 800 women have received no-cost screening mammograms through Sister to Sister.
Mrs. Blackburn also helped CPMC purchase a much-needed MRI Breast Biopsy Table in 2010. Receiving computer-guided biopsies may help patients avoid unnecessary surgery, and the biopsy table plays a critical role in positioning patients for this technologically advanced procedure. Before the table’s acquisition it took 45-60 minutes to properly position patients, often in uncomfortable or contorted positions. With the new table, a patient can be positioned comfortably in 15-20 minutes.
Thanks to Mrs. Blackburn’s gift and the support of other generous donors to CPMC, we are able to offer improved image quality, productivity, and lesion accessibility while the patient is comfortable and pain free during this procedure.
Advocate, philanthropist, champion
Women in San Francisco are extremely fortunate to have Athena Blackburn as an advocate, philanthropist and breast health champion. We extend our sincere thanks to her for all she has done to advance this important cause at California Pacific Medical Center!
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