ThedaCare Foundation Launches $7 Million Capital Campaign

‘Connect’ Campaign Lays Foundation for ThedaCare Cancer Center to Integrate Cancer Services; $3 Million Already Pledged

To better serve the region's cancer patients of today and tomorrow, ThedaCare is building an integrated cancer center where patients will receive the care and services they need in one location. To jump-start the $44 million project, today Michael Frohna, executive director for the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, announced “Connect: a community campaign to transform cancer care in our region,” a $7 million capital campaign. The new facility will be built on land ThedaCare owns in Appleton near Encircle Health on Capitol Drive. 

“The integrated cancer center will allow for a continuum of care and help our care teams seamlessly guide patients through their treatment,” said Frohna. “Our goal for the facility is to take care of our patients and their families, providing comprehensive cancer prevention, treatment and recovery services, as well as support groups, complementary therapies and a survivorship program. And while the focus of care will be centralized in one location, patients will be able to receive treatments and therapies in their own communities, without all the extra travel time going to and from appointments throughout the region.”

The ThedaCare Family of Foundations, through the Appleton Medical Center Foundation Fund, has made a lead $2 million gift to launch the campaign. In addition, a local donor has committed another $1 million towards the campaign. Dean High, chairperson of the Appleton Medical Center Foundation Fund Board of Trustees and Connect co-chair said, “The Foundation played an important role in establishing ThedaCare’s first new cancer program more than a decade ago. Today, we have an opportunity to help again. We make this gift with a sense of pride, but also with a heart of gratitude for the people who have believed and continue to believe in our mission. Their generosity allows us to step up and launch the campaign. We eagerly wait to see how others will join us to transform cancer care in our region."

Everyone has had friends or family impacted by cancer. That is also true for Frohna, who acknowledged bringing the cancer center vision to life is personal. Recently he went through a cancer journey with his father. “When we met with his radiation oncologist for the first time, she sat down right across from my dad and said, ‘tell me about yourself.’ They cared about him first. I can’t tell you how much those personal connections meant – not just for my dad, but for my entire family.”

Stacy Milam, director of oncology for ThedaCare, says patients and their families are seeking a connected plan for all their care. “If you think about it – when families make important decisions, they gather everyone around the table to discuss options,” said Milam. “This new cancer center will make it possible to bring the entire care team to the table (primary care physicians, pharmacists, nurses, oncologists, etc.), to collaborate and assess the best options for each patient and their family with the patient and family at the table.”

Milam said that in addition to expanding options for patients, the new cancer center will expand services for families. “We plan to provide support services to help families cope with what’s happening in their world,” said Milam. “Supporting the family’s healing is supporting the patient’s healing.”

“We are in early stages of designing the new cancer center,” said Dean Gruner, MD, president and CEO of ThedaCare. “Oncology care is changing rapidly. But the landscape of care is also changing nationally and we need to remain agile to those continual changes. We believe this new regional cancer center will have an immediate positive impact on each of our families, as well as the long-term health of our community.”

Frohna added that “many times patients and their families ask, ‘Thank you so much. What can we do to show our gratitude?’ Once the center is complete, our physicians will have a host of services and new programs that could benefit from the generosity and appreciation of others. We will have families helping families that have traveled a similar path. That’s powerful.”

ThedaCare welcomes the community’s help in bringing the regional cancer center to life. If you would like to learn more or donate, go to or call (920) 738-6503.

The ThedaCare Family of Foundations, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to help people express their values through giving and to apply charitable gifts to provide funding for ThedaCareTM initiatives that help people experience exceptional care. Member Foundations of the Family support programs and services throughout the region and include Appleton Medical Center Foundation, Berlin Area Health Foundation, Peabody-Heritage Fund, Riverside Health Foundation, Shawano Medical Center Foundation, ThedaCare Foundation-New London, ThedaCare Hospice Foundation, and the Theda Clark Medical Center Foundation.