GOSHEN — A $400,000 gift was presented to IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care Wednesday.
The gift was awarded by the Goshen Hospital & Healthcare Foundation from the estate of a Middlebury couple, the late Jean and Norval D. Poyser.
A bequest of $391,000 was made by the couple to the foundation and the balance comes directly from funds given by community donors and set aside for cancer research at the Goshen Hospital & Healthcare Foundation.
“We are pleased as a foundation, to add to the original bequest by the Poyser family, so that we can make it an even $400,000,” said Foundation President Terry Hoogenboom.
The Poyser’s were lifelong residents of Middlebury and graduates of Middlebury High School. They were married for 56 years until Jean died from cancer in 2001.
The couple worked together on their farm and were well-known throughout the community as kind, quiet, hardworking and generous people, said Lynette Mischel, executive director of the Goshen Hospital & Healthcare Foundation.
“They were two beautiful lives who cared about this community,” Mischel said.
Norval was a leader in the community serving as an officer on numerous boards including First State Bank, the Middlebury Co-o Creamery and the Elkhart County Farm Bureau Co-op. He died in April 2011 at 92.
Their bequest was entrusted to the foundation until such a time when suitable arrangements for the gift could be given in the name of cancer research.
“This is the third largest gift in the history of the foundation totally for cancer research,” Mischel added.
Patty Yates, trust officer at First State Bank in Middlebury, spoke briefly about the couple.
“I was a young employee at the bank when I first met them. We became dear friends and Norval relied on me when Jean died,” Yates said, with tears in her eyes. “He became like a grandfather to me.”
Randy Christophel, president and chief executive officer of Indiana University Health Goshen, accepted the oversized check along with Dr. Roderich Schwarz, medical director at IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care.
“I didn’t know the Poyser’s but they’d be great people to get to know,” Christophel said. smiling.
The following three major priorities will be used from the gift:
• Construction of the Poyser Cancer Research Department. The IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care’s research program has grown dramatically, and the portfolio of clinical trials is one of the most sophisticated in the state. This new and expanded space will allow the Center for Cancer Care to continue to increase the number of all patients in the Center entered into clinical trials.
• Support of dedicated research. This research is coordinated between IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care and The Harper Cancer Research Institute – a partnership between the IU School of Medicine and University of Notre Dame.
“Currently, we are working on research specific to tissue studies focusing on numerous types of cancer, including breast, colorectal and pancreatic, prostate, lung, and melanoma,” Schwarz said.
• Expand cancer screening outreach in the communities we serve, and to reach out to uninsured and under insured individuals whose resources may keep them from the care they need.