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William W. Wirtz Allocates $19.5 Million to Northwestern Memorial for Cancer Care and Research

The-late William W. Wirtz earmarked millions to advance research

and enhance cancer treatment

CHICAGO, May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Northwestern Memorial Foundation today announced the inception of the William W. Wirtz Cancer Innovation Fund, a new initiative in support of continued research and clinical advancements within the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The late William W. Wirtz designated more than $19.5 million to seed the program prior to his passing in 2007. This generous commitment from the well-known businessman, sportsman, and philanthropic contributor was recently made public.


"Our father was involved in many philanthropic endeavors during his lifetime," the five Wirtz Children (Rocky, Gail, Karey, Peter, and Alison) provided in a statement. "He has continued that legacy by arranging for Northwestern Memorial Hospital to receive a sizeable contribution that will allow it to enhance cancer programming at this world-class medical institution."

William W. Wirtz's philanthropic achievements were numerous throughout his lifetime with many of them unknown to the general public. He championed and spearheaded many charitable causes which included the establishment of Chicago Blackhawk Charities. Under William W. Wirtz's direction, Blackhawk Charities took part in programs that offered assistance to those with physical disabilities and efforts aimed at helping disadvantaged and abused children. Another charitable passion of the-late William W. Wirtz was his promotion of health and fitness to youth through national and regional hockey programs. During his tenure Chicago Blackhawks Charities granted more than $8 million to various organizations including the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

In recognition of William W. Wirtz's generosity, Northwestern Memorial formed this pivotal oncology fund in his honor. The William W. Wirtz Cancer Innovation Fund will support efforts to enhance patient access to a wide range of essential services for individuals with cancer; recruit leading physicians and physician-scientists specializing in cancer research and treatment; and allow Northwestern Memorial to remain at the vanguard of emerging technologies.

"We are grateful to Mr. Wirtz for his profound generosity," said Dean M. Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. "His gift, coupled with the vision of his family, will play an important and lasting role in helping to identify and develop novel new therapies and advance the care we provide to patients living with cancer."

The family further added, "Our father cared deeply about those who were stricken with cancer. We are proud and honored to carry on his wishes by being a part of this most worthy cause."

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the country's premier academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital comprises 873 beds, 1,554 affiliated physicians and 6,747 employees. Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial possesses nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence, and it is listed in 10 clinical specialties in U.S. News & World Report's 2008 "America's Best Hospitals" guide. For nine years running, it has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as their "most preferred hospital" according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 14 years.

Statement From William W. Wirtz Children

"Our father was involved in many philanthropic endeavors during his lifetime. He has continued that legacy through an estate contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation and Hospital. This sizable contribution will allow them to enhance their cancer programming at this world-class medical institution.

In recognition of our father's generosity, Northwestern Memorial Foundation and Hospital has honored him with the formation of the William W. Wirtz Cancer Innovation Fund which will support continued clinical advancement and medical care in the following areas:

  • Enhance overall patient access to a wide range of essential services for individuals battling cancer;
  • Leveraging ties to the Lurie Cancer Center, catalyze significant cancer research advancements and strengthen the cancer research infrastructure;
  • Recruit talented physicians that specialize in cancer treatment and care;
  • Make important strides in cancer patient care;
  • Improve the healthcare provided to an increasing number of patients and diverse patient populations;
  • Allow Northwestern Memorial Hospital to remain in the forefront of emerging cancer technologies;
  • Assist the hospital in its endeavor to become one of the top cancer programs in the country.

Our father cared deeply about those who were stricken by cancer and illness. We are proud and honored to carry on his wishes by being a part of this most worthy cause."

The William W. Wirtz family children:

W. Rockwell Wirtz, Gail Wirtz Costello, Karen K. Fix, Peter R. Wirtz, Alison M. Wirtz

SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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