The Huntsman Cancer Institute broke ground on Friday for a new research center examining cancers in children.
U President David Pershing said the U is “honored” to be home to the new facility, which will be completed in 2016. Roughly 500 people attended the groundbreaking.
“Today we unite to take a great challenge,” said Mary Beckerle, CEO and director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. “We have no time to lose.”
The goal of the new 220,000 square-foot addition is to provide a new space to study children’s and family cancers, create new research models and increase survival rates.
Almost 1,600 people die each day of cancer in the United States; it is the second most common cause of death in the nation.
The Huntsman family, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Intermountain Healthcare, the State of Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered financial support for the new development, which is being built by Jacobsen Construction and designed by Architectural Nexus.
Jon Huntsman Sr. has been dealing with cancer for decades. As a result, he and his family founded the Huntsman Cancer Foundation in 1995 to help others facing the same disease.
“This is the time, this is the season and this is the place to cure cancer,” Huntsman said of the new facility.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also spoke at the groundbreaking and helped ceremoniously break ground with gold-trimmed shovels.
The One Voice Children’s Choir sang “We Will Rise Above” at Friday’s event. For the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the song symbolizes the hope that humanity can rise above the ills of debilitating diseases through giving, hard work and solidarity – with Utah playing a major part in that.