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Sharp Health News

The gift of a lifetime

March 14, 2018

The gift of a lifetime

Kevin Cook (center) stands with Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp HealthCare Foundation leaders during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new infusion center that will bear his name.

Over the last few years, Sharp HealthCare oncology programs experienced a 13 percent increase in patient visits, and the Outpatient Infusion Center at Sharp Memorial Hospital’s Laurel Amtower Cancer Institute began to outgrow its current space. One of those patients, Kevin Cook, noticed the growing pains and wanted to help.

Cook is donating $3.5 million from his estate to create the Kevin H. Cook Infusion Center and to benefit oncology programs and services at Sharp Memorial and Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers. This donation follows Cook’s many other grateful patient gifts to Sharp HealthCare Foundation since 2013.

A former project manager for the City of San Diego, Cook was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer in the summer of 2012. After years of treatment at Sharp that included radiation, chemotherapy and hospital stays — and two recurrences of brain cancer — he remains healthy through medication and chemotherapy.

“The entire staff at Sharp — from customer service, insurance billing, appointment line, check-in, nurses and doctors — are amazing,” Cook says. “Everyone is truly concerned about your well-being. Knowing that I always have a team of professional, caring people each time I go to Sharp has really helped my situation.”

While Cook says that he couldn’t have asked for anything else from his caregivers, he did note during his many infusion appointments that he might be able to help provide future patients with a slightly different — and more comfortable — space to receive such exceptional care. The Kevin H. Cook Infusion Center will offer that comfy environment and much more.

The center will have 22 infusion chairs, two private rooms and an exam room; staff and patient support spaces; and dedicated visitor, staff and patient restrooms. Patients will be able to choose the levels of privacy, light, sound and temperature within their care environment and enjoy welcome distractions such as reading, computer access and an outdoor view. There will also be dedicated space for patients’ companions and loved ones.

In addition, the Sharp Rees-Stealy oncology practice is moving adjacent to the new center. This will be much more convenient for patients to see their doctor and receive chemotherapy on the same floor.

This isn’t the first time Cook has made a generous donation to support the cancer care of others. A long-time fan of the actress, singer and cancer care activist Olivia Newton-John, Cook had amassed a collection of memorabilia related to the star. In the year following his diagnosis, Cook decided to sell the items and donate all of the proceeds to The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Australia. To date, he has donated more than $56,000 to the center in her name.

Bill Littlejohn, CEO of the Sharp HealthCare Foundation, says that Kevin’s generosity is a testament to him and to all cancer caregivers. He says Kevin’s donations will impact lives for generations to come.

“Because of Kevin’s generosity and all of the Sharp caregivers who have been along his side for his Sharp Experience journey, the new infusion center will be an incredible space of health and healing,” Littlejohn says. “It is so great to think that this wonderful place will have a name attached to it, a name that will live on for generations and will inspire others to follow his generous example. He is making the gift of a lifetime.”

For the news media: To talk with Kevin Cook or Bill Littlejohn about the Kevin H. Cook Infusion Center for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at erica.carlson@sharp.com.

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