Published on September 22, 2022

Bringing Enloe’s New Cancer Center to Life

Fundraising Campaign Hits Major Milestone

Left to right: Mike Wiltermood, Enloe's President and CEO, Sam Mazj, M.D., Medical Director of Enloe’s  current and future Cancer Center, and Jolene Francis, Enloe’s Vice President of Philanthropy & Communications,  stand with campaign tri-chairs Sierra Grossman, Bill Carriere and Judy Sitton.

In the North State, cancer is a leading cause of death. Enloe Medical Center is well aware and recognizes the critical need for expanded services.

Enloe’s new comprehensive cancer center, a 100,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Meriam Park, will remedy the dire need to increase cancer care in the North State. Located at the corner of 20th Street and Bruce Road, it is expected to break ground in late 2023.

The cost to build the new center ranges from $100-120 million. The Enloe Foundation has successfully raised more than $10 million to help build the center, marking a huge milestone that exemplifies the North State’s generosity. However, there’s still a long journey ahead, said Jolene Francis, Enloe’s Vice President of Philanthropy & Communications. She hopes the community will continue to help bring the center to life.

Having robust cancer care locally means resources and specialists are available in one location, which can lead to earlier detection and a healthier community. “Cancer is stressful; it’s hard. Having everything in one location will make it easier for our patients,” Francis said.

Filling a Need

The Camp Fire in 2018 destroyed about 30% of the health care infrastructure in Butte County. Most has yet to be replaced, adding pressure on Enloe and its caregivers. “The community continues to grow, the community continues to age and our health care capacity is physically limited,” Francis said. “Increasing capacity is a very high priority for us.”

“The community continues to grow, the community continues to age and our health care capacity is physically limited. Increasing capacity is a very high priority for us.”

Bill Carriere, Sierra Grossman and Judy Sitton serve as the tri-chairs for the Enloe Foundation’s Comprehensive Cancer Campaign all-volunteer committee. Carriere understands how taxing it is to travel hours out of the area for specialized cancer care. He experienced it when his father went through cancer treatment.

“Cancer affects everybody. If you haven’t been affected yourself, someone you know or love has been,” Carriere said.

The cancer diagnosis was bad enough for his father, but the consistent trips to the Bay Area for treatment added more strain.

“Being away from home is a big deal. It’s almost as bad as the cancer,” Carriere said. “It’s very important to have cancer care here locally, close to home. That is part of your cure.”

It’s why Carriere and his family donated to the Comprehensive Cancer Campaign. Carriere, who is from Glenn County, knows that a world-class cancer center will not only benefit Butte County, but the entire North State. “I’m very proud to be a part of this, proud to give my time and effort,” Carriere said. “We’ve reached this goal, and we’re not stopping. We’re going to go until it’s finished.”

‘Contributing Toward the Greater Good’

Sam Mazj, M.D., the medical director of Enloe’s current cancer center, will also serve the same role at the new cancer center. As a specialist in hematology and oncology in Butte County for nearly 20 years, Mazj has seen cancer numbers rise.

“It is really important to bring the best care to this area, and I think this project is a big step,” Mazj said. “People in the community should feel like this is their home. We need everyone to be engaged and participating in this project.”

Sitton has been in Chico for over 50 years. Originally from Southern California, she ventured to Chico to attend California State University, Chico. Now the city has become her home. When the opportunity to be part of the campaign arose, Sitton jumped at the chance.

“Enloe is key to our whole region, and we need to be able to provide the needed, the necessary, and the passionate care for all of the people in this area and beyond,” she said. “It’s not only a hometown need, it’s a regional need.”

Grossman decided to be part of the project because she values raising her family in a healthy community.

“We only have one life to live, and having the best experience we possibly can in that life is important. Anything you can do to make it a positive experience is necessary.”

“We only have one life to live, and having the best experience we possibly can in that life is important. Anything you can do to make it a positive experience is necessary,” Grossman said. “It’s been a great collaboration of different people coming together. We’re all contributing toward the greater good.”

Help Make a Difference

You can help bring this project to life. Make a one-time donation, a recurring gift or a gift in honor of someone online at www.enloe.org/donate. Or call the Enloe Foundation at 530-332-4550.