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ChristianaCare receives $1M donation for cancer care

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ChristianaCare Helen Graham Cancer Center

A donation from the Bacchieri family will support breast and lung cancer care at the ChristianaCare Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTIANACARE

WILMINGTON – A $1 million donation to ChristianaCare will support the purchase of a state-of-the-art radiography system for breast cancer detection at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute and expand a fellowship program to reduce disparities in breast and lung cancer.

The gift comes from the Bacchieri family, who have previously donated significant sums of money to the state’s largest health care system to treat cancer. The late Gregg Bacchieri, a former senior executive at the credit giant MBNA, died in 2019 after battling cancer. Today, his widow, Stacey, is a major philanthropist in the region.

“ChristianaCare extends our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Bacchieri family for their philanthropic leadership,” Dia Williams Adams, vice president of philanthropy at ChristianaCare, said in a statement announcing the gift. “Making this lifesaving technology available for breast cancer patients and expanding this fellowship program for both breast and lung cancer are critical components to building strong and healthy communities.”

In Delaware breast and lung cancer are among the most frequently diagnosed cancers. The First State has the highest incidence nationally of triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive form of breast cancer, among the Black population. And lung cancer is responsible for 33% of cancer deaths in Delaware.

“As longtime supporters of the Graham Cancer Center, we know our investment in the very latest technology to examine pathology specimens and expand the fellowship program in population health/science will advance cancer care, reduce disparities and improve outcomes in Delaware and surrounding communities,” Stacey Bacchieri said in a statement. “We hope our support of the Graham Cancer Center, made in honor of Dr. Nicholas Petrelli, will inspire many others to join us in the fight against cancer and to support the underserved populations in our state.”

The donation will allow ChristianaCare to acquire a portable radiography unit that can provide high-resolution X-ray images of breast specimens of all sizes. It will enable pathologists at the Graham Cancer Center to process about 25% more cases per year.

“ChristianaCare is deeply grateful to Stacey Bacchieri and her family for their generous gift and continued support of our cancer program,” Petrelli, the medical director of the cancer center, said in a statement. “This new radiography system will be transformational and provide a number of benefits for our breast cancer patients, such as enabling providers to see the finest details in the widest range of specimens while reducing turnaround time.”

Meanwhile, the Caspar Wistar Bacchieri Disparities Fellowship in Cancer Population Health will support the next generation of population health cancer researchers and focus on cancer control and prevention activities that have the potential to significantly decrease cancer disparities, especially in breast and lung cancer. The researchers will have access to resources at both the Graham Cancer Center and the Wistar Institute, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit involved in early-stage discovery science for cancer, immunology and infectious disease.

Candidates for the fellowship must have earned a doctorate in biomedical sciences, medicine, epidemiology, behavioral science, public health or a related field; shown evidence of outstanding academic achievement and the potential to work collaboratively across translational and clinical cancer research disciplines; and support ChristianaCare values of diversity, inclusion, scientific/clinical innovation and health equity.

In 2017, the Bacchieri family donated $1 million to ChristianaCare for head and neck cancer care and research, after Gregg was diagnosed with throat cancer. It was the first major gift to support the Graham Cancer Center’s Head and Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Center.

The family foundation has supported other causes in recent years, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, the University of Delaware, the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, the Serviam Girls Academy, and more. Last year, the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club renamed its basketball court and teen center for the family of longtime supporters, as Gregg Bacchieri had twice served as board chair for the club and long served on the state board.

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