Kansas Masonic Foundation makes $1 million gift to address emotional aspects of cancer care

Mark Nelson



Kansas City, Kan. — Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer knows that the disease can raise challenging emotional issues for both patients and caregivers. A gift from the Kansas Masonic Foundation will help to address those needs. The foundation has made a $1 million gift to establish the Midwest Cancer Alliance Behavioral Health Therapist Fund through The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

The gift will provide access to a psycho-oncologist through the Midwest Cancer Alliance, which links the cancer center to hospitals, health care providers and cancer patients throughout Kansas and western Missouri. Psycho-oncology is a subset of psychology that focuses on improving the mental health of cancer patients and their loved ones or caregivers.

"The Kansas Masonic Foundation is pleased to make this gift for the Midwest Cancer Alliance," said Mark Nelson, executive director of the Kansas Masonic Foundation. "Research isn't always about the disease itself but also about the toll this disease takes on everyone involved. Our long-standing commitment with the cancer center is a top priority that was set by our board many years ago. Masons are known for their commitments, and we will continue to support the cancer center in its endeavors to seek more effective ways to prevent and treat cancer."

Hope Krebill, executive director of the Midwest Cancer Alliance, expressed appreciation for the gift. "This important gift from the Masons allows MCA to do what it does best — accomplish things together that our members would not be able to accomplish alone," said Krebill. "Hospitals across Kansas have been searching for ways to help patients manage the psychological stress associated with a cancer diagnosis. We are so grateful to the Kansas Masons for their support of our psycho-social programs that will help answer that need."

The Midwest Cancer Alliance is a network of 19 hospitals and research organizations united to bring leading-edge clinical trials, screening tools and educational opportunities to patients and medical professionals in the region. Its goals are to provide access to the latest advancements close to home, to advance cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship, and to offer professional education, networking and outreach opportunities.

There are more than 21,000 Masons who represent 236 Masonic Lodges in Kansas. The Kansas Masonic Foundation has provided nearly $23 million for cancer research at The University of Kansas Cancer Center since 1975.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is a partnership that includes cancer research and health care professionals associated with the KU Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.; KU's Lawrence campus; the KU School of Medicine-Wichita; and the members of the Midwest Cancer Alliance.

The gift to KU Endowment counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university's comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.