Helena Theurer, a longtime benefactor and friend of Hackensack University Medical Center, has made a $25 million gift to advance cancer research and transform clinical care at the John Theurer Cancer Center, a center named in tribute to her late husband in 2010.
In honor of her generous philanthropy, the medical center announced Thursday night it will dedicate and name its newest building, a nine-story state-of-the-art facility under construction at HUMC, the Helena Theurer Pavilion.
The $25 million gift is the largest in the history of Hackensack Meridian Health.
HMH CEO Bob Garrett said the donation will have a lasting impact.
“Helena Theurer’s incredible generosity to Hackensack Meridian Health will forever benefit our patients and the communities we proudly serve,’’ he said. “Her meaningful giving has empowered us to deliver the most innovative and compassionate care at John Theurer Cancer Center over the years.
“Her inspiring contribution helps us fulfill our mission, which is to transform health care and be a leader of positive change.”
Theurer said she is amazed at the impact her original gift of $10 million had in 2010 and was grateful to be able to make a second donation.
“I am truly amazed at how far John Theurer Cancer Center has come,” she said. “As a young woman, a cancer diagnosis was considered a death sentence. Today, many cancers are not only treatable, but curable.
“My gift reflects my commitment to the cancer program at Hackensack Meridian Health. I am so proud to have John’s name, and now mine, forever associated with excellence, innovation and this visionary mission.”
The addition of the Helena Theurer Pavilion, one of the largest and most comprehensive health care construction projects in the country, is the centerpiece in the transformation of the Hackensack University Medical Center campus. Hackensack University Medical Center broke ground on the Helena Theurer Pavilion in September 2019. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.
The facility under construction on Second Street is the largest hospital expansion ever undertaken in New Jersey. It includes 24 new operating rooms with advanced diagnostics including MRIs and CT scans; 150 medical/surgical private patient rooms; and a 50-bed Orthopedic Institute.
HMH officials said the project will span over a public roadway, providing connections to an existing parking garage, the Heart and Vascular Institute and the existing main hospital. As part of the new design, a new lobby and valet drop-off will create a dedicated entrance for the critical care and surgical pavilion.
Andre Goy, physician in chief, Hackensack Meridian Health Oncology Care Transformation Service and chairman and chief physician officer at the John Theurer Cancer Center, said the center is about more than treatment.
“John Theurer Cancer Center is a place of hope and scientific promise for those in need, and it was made possible because of Helena Theurer’s compassion and generosity,” he said. “It is truly a privilege to be the recipient of this generosity, to be able to treat our patients in our magnificent center and advance cancer research with determination under the Theurer name.
“I consider it an honor to know Helena, and on behalf of the doctors, nurses and support staff, as well as our patients who look to us every day for lifesaving therapies, I am and will always remain most appreciative of her confidence and unwavering support.”
HUMC President Mark Sparta said donation will help the cancer center continue to do what it does best — provide the highest quality of care to one of the most vulnerable patient populations.
“It serves as a beacon of hope for so many in their fight against cancer,” he said. “Helena has helped to transform the Hackensack University Medical Center campus and the way in which we deliver care for our patients in the future. We have saved countless lives and continue to touch so many others because of her dedication and partnership.”
Theurer, a successful businesswoman of distinguished achievement, has enriched the lives of many through her commitment to service and philanthropy. She and her late husband were industry leaders in the truck trailer business. Their business entrepreneurship also included an extensive real estate portfolio and the construction of floating hotel suites in the Florida Keys.
Following John Theurer’s death in 1994, Helena Theurer continued to build a booming enterprise using the skills learned through her years of experience in various industries. A former member of the Hackensack University Medical Center board of trustees and board of governors, she provided valuable guidance and shared her knowledge by serving in key leadership positions on various committees, including Human Resources, Strategic Events and the Cancer Advisory Board.
Helen Cunning, north regional president and chief development officer, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation, said the donation will be part of Theurer’s legacy.
“I am honored to celebrate Helena Theurer, an extraordinary woman and friend, whose generosity and commitment to the transformation of the cancer center and patient care at Hackensack University Medical Center has been remarkable,” she said. “The Theurer legacy lives on in Helena’s name and John’s, and I am so very grateful for her friendship and confidence in all that we can achieve together.”