Mayo Clinic Receives $5 million donation for new cancer center

Mayo Clinic is receiving a private donation of $5 million from Stephen and Barbara Slaggie.

The health system says it’s one of the largest donations it’s ever gotten and it will have a big impact on how it treats patients.

“Give from your heart and it will always be worthwhile,” Barbara Slaggie said.

Although Stephen and Barbara Slaggie now live in Florida they still care deeply about the Winona and La Crosse region.

“It’s not only a gift to the Mayo Clinic it’s a gift to the people who need a cancer center and to have hands-on access to the facility,” Barbara Slaggie said.

Stephen Slaggie is one of the founders of Fastenal and has had a relationship with Mayo Clinic for more than 70 years since he was diagnosed with spinal meningitis.

“Back the 40’s that was pretty fatal. You usually didn’t hang around when you were diagnosed with that,” he said.

After spending weeks in the hospital he was cured by the doctors at Mayo Clinic and decades later when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer he knew exactly what hospital he wanted to go to.

“I had cancer. I was treated at Mayo Clinic. Within a few days I had the operations and (a) complete recovery,” Stephen Slaggie said.

He’s been cancer-free for more than a decade.

“I’m indebted to the Mayo Clinic and staff for giving me life going forward and being able to do the things we do these days,” Stephen Slaggie said.

With the donation the health system can double the amount of cancer patients it treats.

Paul Mueller the regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System in Southwest Wisconsin, said: “It’s a huge deal for us. The $5 million donation will support construction of our remodeling project here in the cancer center.”

That means shorter wait times for patients, which Stephen and Barbara Slaggie say is the main goal.

“It’s absolutely our wish that people diagnosed with cancer can receive early care and hopefully and prayerfully get good news with the results,” Barbara Slaggie said.

The cancer center in La Crosse can currently treat 10 patients at a time.

After the expansion the hospital will be able to treat 20 patients at once.

Right now, patients may have to wait up to two weeks to start treatment, but after the expansion the hospital says wait times will hopefully be closer to eight days.

The hospital is expecting to have the center completed this summer.

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