This morning in front of Upstate University Hospital, the last two steel beams of the Upstate Cancer Center were raised into place. We refer to the beams as the “heart and soul” of the center.
You see, when we placed one steel beam from the Cancer Center in the lobby of the hospital for those touched by cancer to sign, it was full in a week. It didn’t matter which way we turned that piece of steel, it was covered with a rainbow of signatures and dedications. Each color signifies a different type of cancer.
So another beam was added, and collectively, these two lifeless chunks of metal began to take on a life of their own.
Every building has a heart and soul. It doesn’t come from the walls, fortified with steel and covered in sheet rock. It makes no matter what color the walls are, or how shiny the floors are. The heart and soul of any building lives within the people who walk through its doors each day.
In a building like the Upstate Cancer Center, that heart and soul will live within our patients and their families. The doctors and the nurses. The volunteers and support staff. Together, each of these individuals work together toward a common goal of good health and a long term goal of a lasting legacy of hope.
Today we heard the reflections of people who beat cancer. And we saw the tears of a spouse left behind in the wake of cancer.
Three cancer survivors ranging in age from 11 to, well, older than 11 all shared the same sentiment: If it weren’t for Upstate they would not be here today. They recalled, by name, the providers who help them claim this victory, and referred to those doctors and nurses as family.
It was an amazing moment to be part of the Upstate family. We were reminded yet again how lucky we are as Central New Yorkers to have this world-class regional medical care here in our own community. Many of the resources that will be part of the Upstate Cancer Center are already available to patients today at University Hospital. The new facility will allow us to bring all of our resources under one roof, so our multidisciplinary teams can do their very best work for our patients.
At the end of the ceremony, our cancer survivors let go of their balloons, and they quickly ascended up into the crisp blue March sky. This was the signal for the crane to hoist those two beams, the heart and soul, of the Cancer Center into place.
The beams, seemingly weightless, zipped to the top of the structure without delay. As they came to rest in just the right spot, the sun peeked out from behind those stubborn March clouds.
See more photos of the ceremony.