WAPAKONETA — More than 700 friends of the Lima Memorial Foundation gathered at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum on Thursday to raise money for lung cancer diagnostic equipment that hospital officials say could have a “significant impact on patient outcomes.”
The Lima Memorial Foundation’s 15th Annual Gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser, and this year had a goal to raise $500,000 for the diagnostic equipment. Scott Shutt, chairman of the Lima Memorial Foundation and vice president of Kewpee Hamburgers, invoked astronaut Neil Armstrong in describing the organization’s ambitious goal.
“As we embark on tonight’s journey, we too are pushing boundaries with a record-setting fundraising goal of half a million dollars,” Shutt said. “Mr. Armstrong believed in man’s ability to step foot on the moon. We believe in our collective ability to raise the needed funds to bring life-saving lung cancer technology to our region.”
Lynn Carpenter, executive director of the Lima Memorial Foundation, said a new lung screening program led the foundation to pursue the diagnostic equipment.
“We now have the ability to detect that there may be issues early, so we need the diagnostic tools to effectively and minimally invasively diagnose those,” Carpenter said. “It would improve the outcome of our patients, so it was really an easy decision.”
When purchased, the equipment will use minimally invasive technology to diagnose suspicious lung nodules and lesions at their earliest, most treatable stage. The device uses GPS technology to access areas of the lung that are currently inaccessible.
Since lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women, Carpenter and Shutt said the diagnostic device could potentially save lives.
“We will be able to diagnose the cancer earlier, and get people treated earlier so their survivorship is more likely,” Shutt said.
Thursday’s gala raised funds through corporate and individual sponsorships, as well as silent and live auctions.
If the $500,000 goal is reached, which Shutt and Carpenter were confident it will, the diagnostic equipment would be purchased almost immediately.
“We have experienced tremendous support from our business and community partners, as well as the community of Wapakoneta, so we’re very much assured we will meet our goal,” Carpenter said. “We have the PO (purchase order) ready to go.”
Last year’s gala raised just under $300,000 for a da Vinci robot the hospital currently uses for surgery.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima