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Center offers hope

Money from the Disney family and studios help bring cancer treatments all into one space.

January 29, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

Given her family history, Marla Zack was well aware of the plights of cancer. As she aged, the Burbank resident received a regular mammogram, ultrasound and MRI, wary that the disease would strike.

“Still, it’s devastating when you get that news, especially when you think you’ve dodged that bullet because you’ve been so proactive,” said Zack, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed in March 2008. “It just shows you that there’s no rhyme or reason to this disease. To have a place like this to go when you are dealt that hand is incredible.”

That place is the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, slated to open Feb. 8 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center as the first comprehensive cancer facility in the San Fernando Valley.

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The $36-million outpatient center is housed in a modern, four-story building on the Media District campus. Built to reflect the healing powers of nature, the facility was designed by Pasadena-based SWA Architects and combines the latest research and clinical trials with a pharmacy and psychological counseling.

“Having just been profoundly touched by cancer, this building has taken on a new, deeper meaning for me and it’s less now the gift of a building than it is a gift of hope as far as I am concerned for people who are scared and that are need,” said Roy P. Disney, son of the late Roy E. and Patricia Disney.

Disney, whose father lost his battle with cancer last month, saw his parents donate $10 million to the center that bears the family’s name. At the Sheri and Roy P. Disney Center for Integrative Medicine, patients will receive therapies that complement radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

“My wife and I feel pretty strongly that fear of cancer comes at every possible level and until you face it you don’t have any idea,” Roy P. Disney said. “Cancer is a complete unknown until you actually have to face it. And then you need direction, you need support, you need everything.”

It’s been 25 years since a contingent of oncologists and radiologists at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center envisioned a comprehensive cancer center that would offer state-of-the-art care with a personal approach, officials said.

But that wouldn’t be possible were it not for the Disney family, Warner Bros., NBC Universal and other media entities, which provided a total of $15 million, Chief Executive Barry Wolfman said.

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