Duarte-based City of Hope announced on May 24 that it had received a $10 million gift from the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation to boost supportive care medicine services for patients at its facilities.
According to the announcement, the gift will support City of Hope’s efforts to give patients across its cancer care system expanded access to its evidence-based supportive care medicine offerings and to advocate for establishing supportive care as a standard practice for cancer care in the United States.
Under its existing supportive care medicine program, cancer patients at City of Hope are provided comprehensive physical, psychological, social and practical support services that improve outcomes and enable them to maximize their personal and family strengths. Offerings include care navigation, survivorship programs, specialists in cancer and aging, psychological and spiritual counseling, pain management, and integrative medicine such as yoga, massage and meditation.
“Cancer diagnoses and treatments bring tremendous stress to families, with challenges that are uniquely personal,” said Robert Stone, City of Hope’s chief executive. “Providing patients with access to supportive care programs has a direct impact on their treatment outcomes and our ability to deliver value-based medical care. It results in a reduction in the length of inpatient stays, hospital readmissions and ICU stays, and an improved quality of life and patient satisfaction.”
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, which is headquartered in Seattle, was founded in 2001 with a focus in four areas: supportive care; connecting young adults from low-income communities with jobs in the banking and health care industries; public education; and social impact theater.
The foundation was started with funds from Les Biller accrued during his career in the banking and finance industries. Biller, currently chief executive of Seattle-based private equity company Harborview Capital, previously served as vice chairman and chief operating officer of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. He joined Wells Fargo as a result of its 1998 acquisition of Norwest Corp., which he had joined in 1987.
Sheri Biller, who is the foundation’s president, said in the announcement that the motivation for the gift stemmed in part from the loss of two friends to cancer.
“Our shared belief at The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and at City of Hope is that supportive care should be an essential part of cancer care for every patient and family,” Sheri Biller said. “Having lost two close friends — women I referred to as sisters — to breast cancer, I’ve seen firsthand the immense toll that cancer takes on patients and their loved ones, and I have come to understand the relief that truly integrated and meaningful supportive care can provide.”