Note: This article first appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of Focus.
Schmuckal Foundation Donates $250,000 to Cancer Services
During the next decade, 20,000 or more new cases of cancer will be diagnosed within the five-county Grand Traverse region. Many people who receive the gut-wrenching diagnosis of cancer will be able to stay in the area for treatment, thanks in part to a $250,000 donation from the Art and Mary Schmuckal Family Foundation.
The Schmuckals’ gift will help advance Munson Medical Center’s vision for cancer treatment in northern Michigan. The funds will be used to help provide stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and expand infusion services.
"Our family foundation board chose to support this project because we know there is a need in our northern Michigan community to increase the coordination of care when cancer is diagnosed and treated," said Barb Benson, who serves as Vice President of Schmuckal Oil and is on the Munson Healthcare Board of Directors.
"Our family, like many others, has had personal experience with cancer diagnosis of family and friends," Barb added. "We have seen the quality care that they have experienced here. This is one more way that we can honor our mother, Mary, who lived with cancer. We hope that our lead gift will spur others to contribute to this project so that the coordination of care will be improved for all who must seek help."
The Art and Mary Schmuckal Family Foundation was established in 1999 following Mary’s death with a mission to support the health and well being of the community. The Schmuckal family has provided generous help to numerous community projects. In 2005, the family foundation donated $250,000 to Munson’s Emergency Department Campaign. When the need for expanded cancer services became apparent, the family responded once again with a lead gift.
"Through my involvement with the Foundation, I’ve become well acquainted with the challenges facing health care," said Paul Schmuckal, immediate past chairman of the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation Board. "Going forward, all of our hospitals will need our support to maintain the services we have today and the ones we will need in the future."
Family patriarch Art Schmuckal, a Chums Corner dairy farmer and oil company founder, has quietly used his resources over the years to improve the community that has been his life-long home. The Schmuckal family today includes Art, Paul and Don Schmuckal, Evelyn and Michael Richardson, Barbara and Chuck Benson, as well as 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
"We are so thankful for the Schmuckal family’s continued generosity to Munson," said Desiree Worthington, president of the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation. "Their roots run deep in this community and their gift couldn’t be more timely. We are grateful for their confidence in the hospital and its ability to provide quality cancer care for patients of northern Michigan."
One of Munson’s future goals is a cancer center that would offer northern Michigan residents complete cancer services in one location. Purchase of the SRS device and expansion of infusion service at Munson is part of a larger vision to enhance technology and bring all cancer services together in a comprehensive cancer center.