Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute receives gift, renames center.

From left, Brian Nester, Dr. Suresh Nair, Maureen and Joe Topper, – Cris Collingwood

Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute was renamed the Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute today after Joe and Maureen Topper gave the facility a “generous” gift.

Maureen Topper is a breast cancer survivor and her care close to home made the Topper’s want to give back to the organization.

During a press conference attended by about 50 cancer patients and their families, Brian A. Nester, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network, said the gift will be used to bring innovative and lifesaving clinical trials to the region.

“The field of oncology is rapidly evolving, and the clinicians in our cancer program are dedicated to providing our patients the highest-level care within our community. Since 2016, we have been a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, which has enhanced our ability to provide state-of-the-art cancer treatments,” Nester said.

Doctors, nurses and staff filled the staircase and upper decks of the atrium where the press conference was held. A new banner was unrolled and the staff waved purple towels to celebrate the renaming.

The Toppers requested the amount of their gift to remain undisclosed. Speaking to the gathering this morning, Maureen Topper said she felt connected to the cancer team immediately. “I was very confident the plan here was a good one for us. The positive, supportive manner made me feel I was going to be OK,” she said.

“Our gift will help get the word out about the cancer institute and through support and growth, it will make it better than it is,” she said.

Nester said since receiving the gift, recruitment of new staff and clinical trials are already underway. “The gift will complement network investments in advanced cancer treatments and technologies, including stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies.”

In addition, he said, the gift will serve as a permanent source of funding for Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute to attract, recruit and retain the best and brightest physicians, nurses and staff.

“At Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute, we aren’t just treating cancer – we are caring for people,” said Dr. Suresh Nair, physician in chief of the institute. “Our focus is on the individual, not only their disease. We strive to offer our patients the best treatment options for their specific diagnoses so they can continue their lives and reach milestones they didn’t think were possible.”

The cancer center, in its fifth year, is one of three cancer centers int the country participating in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, which provides patients with treatment in their communities.