Fred And Betty Skillern Donate $3 Million For Memorial Hospital Cancer Center

Friday, December 20, 2013

Longtime County Commissioner Fred Skillern and his wife, Betty, have donated $3 million to Memorial Hospital for the Rees Skillern Cancer Center.

The Skillerns lost their only son to cancer two years ago at the age of 49. Rees, a business leader and investor, battled cancer for many years and received much of his treatment at Memorial including a lengthy stay in the oncology inpatient unit surrounded by his loving family and friends. Rees expressed his wish that his estate be used to benefit others, and Mr. and Mrs. Skillern are honoring his wishes with the gift to the Memorial Foundation for the advancement of cancer care in the community.

 “Rees was so giving, and we wanted his giving spirit and his memory to live on at Memorial,” said Fred Skillern. “It was very important to us that part of this gift would be used for additional research opportunities in this community, where it would be most beneficial to our friends, family and neighbors.”

 In honor of Rees, Memorial’s total cancer program will now be called the Rees Skillern Cancer Institute. This will be the umbrella name over programs, including the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, the H. Clay Evans Johnson Radiation Center, the Schmissrauter Center for Cancer Support, and all other special programs. In addition to exterior and interior renovations of the Institute, the generous gift will fund the new Memorial Cancer Risk and Survivor Center which will offer three highly specialized services that will make a tremendous difference in the early detection and treatment of cancer and offer services that are currently not available in the Chattanooga region.

The center will be the first dedicated, high-risk genetic counseling clinic in the area. Though Memorial has been providing cancer risk counseling for 15 years, this will provide the opportunity to make genetic testing part of the total picture for early detection and more accurate diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Officials said, "Memorial will develop the first dedicated, multi-disciplinary resource for adult cancer survivors, empowering survivors to maximize their health, quality of life and longevity. The center will also provide information on the prevention, detection and treatment complications that can result from cancer treatment.

"Memorial plans to give cancer patients in the area greater access to the latest treatments for cancer. While Memorial will not be performing laboratory research, it will increase the emphasis on research. The number of clinical trails and the amount of research available is expected to increase at an accelerated rate." 

“We are at a crossroads of exciting new ways to improve cancer detection and treatment for everyone in the community, creating a legacy of advanced cancer care at Memorial benefiting thousands of people throughout our community.” said James Hobson, CEO, Memorial Health Care System. “Expanding Memorial’s multi-faceted approach of oncology services would not be possible without the Skillerns’ generosity and the many dedicated supporters of the Memorial Foundation.”

Many Photos Of Fairyland Development Featured In New Hiener Photo Book

Many photos of the Fairyland development on Lookout Mountain are featured in the new historic photo book being published by Garnet and Frieda Carter carried out the fanciful development in the 1920s. It was during the construction that the game of miniature golf was invented when a golf ball was hit through a drain pipe at the job site. It was first called ... (click for more)

Public's Help Sought In Identifying Theft Suspect

The East Ridge Police Department is requesting the public’s help in identifying the man in the these images. He is a possible suspect in a sleight of hand theft at the East Ridge Neighborhood Walmart on Sept. 18. Anyone with any information relating to the identity or whereabouts of this individual is asked to contact the East Ridge Police Department at 423-486-9141. (click for more)

Bobby Stone, Is It Really A Win?

It brought a smile to my face this morning when I saw where the case was thrown out of court against Mr. Stone and the domestic violence charge.  I have supported his cause from the beginning, but I do feel heartbreak because his personal life had to be tossed out there for all of us to see.   I truly hope and pray things turn around for him and his wife, while I feel ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Prayer Over Despair

As a strong proponent of early voting, I joined hundreds at the Hamilton County Election Commission headquarters on Amnicola Highway yesterday to exercise what I consider one of our greatest freedoms – “for the people, by the people.” Candidly, I have never been as upset or as disappointed over my choices for President in my life. Locally I am fine with our candidates but to pick ... (click for more)

Briarcrest Beats Baylor For D-II Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO – The 2016 volleyball season didn’t end like the Baylor girls would have liked, but they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of after getting beat by Briarcrest in the D-II Class AA state final here at MTSU’s Murphy Center Friday afternoon. The Lady Saints had beaten Baylor in a winners bracket final on Thursday and proved it was no fluke as they won in three straight ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Falls To Knox Catholic In AA Final

MURFREESBORO – There were five state championships awarded for high school volleyball at MTSU’s Murphy Center Friday, but none of them came back to Chattanooga. Baylor finished second to Briarcrest while Signal Mountain also had to settle for the runner-up award after losing in three straight sets to Knoxville Catholic. The Lady Irish, improving to 32-11 for the season, won ... (click for more)