Fundraising still underway for new linear accelerator

Rachael Keating/Clinton HeraldMercy Medical Center-Clinton Certified Medical Dosimetrist and Radiation Therapist Darla Olson works with the current linear accelerator at the hospital’s Radiation Oncology Center on Tuesday.

CLINTON — A campaign to fund new state-of-the-art technology at Mercy North Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Center is nearing completion, but plenty more work is to be done, officials are saying.

A new linear accelerator is in the future plans for the department, with the campaign beginning last spring to raise $2 million for the machine that would give oncologists never-before-seen precision accuracy and treatment results.

With roughly $400,000 left to go before the goal is met, officials are eyeing a late-summer or early-fall end date to the campaign.

“We’re really close,” Mercy Director of Marketing Julie Dunn said Tuesday. “I feel like the $400,000 is manageable and doable. I am so proud of the support that we’ve received from the Clinton community and really the outlying areas, too.”

According to Dunn, the campaign has received bulk donations in the form of $500,000 from the Clinton County Development Association, as well as $150,000 over a three-year period from the Mercy Auxiliary. More of the funding has come from making personal telephone calls and retaining relationships with several community entities.

The campaign has featured three open houses for those entities to come to the radiation center at 1410 N. Fourth St. and see the technology that’s currently there. That then leads to discussion regarding the future technology and education surrounding the linear accelerator.

The new technology would ensure that Gateway-area cancer patients have a close-to-home treatment option rather than having to commute to and from places such as Davenport or Iowa City to fight the disease.

By Sept. 1, officials are hoping to end the personal calling and campaigning, and turn to planned events and functions to close out the fundraising, according to Dunn. Mercy employee donations have also helped the campaign move along, with Dunn calling the internal support “substantial.”

The campaign to fund the new linear accelerator, consequently ensuring that hometown treatment option, has come with some challenges, Dunn said. Those roadblocks haven’t slowed the fund-raising efforts in the least, however.

“The biggest challenge always when you’re raising this level of money is really making sure that you’re going to be able to do it,” Dunn said. “We have been received warmly everywhere we’ve gone. The people that we’ve talked to, the campaign volunteers that we have even, they really understand the importance of this.”