Munson Health
Casey Cowell and Family

Note: This article first appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Focus.

When news broke in January that long-time Traverse City resident Casey Cowell had donated $5 million toward a new cancer center for the community, he immediately began hearing from people whose lives have been touched by cancer, including many he has never met.

He related one phone call this way:
"He is a cancer survivor. Broke down on the phone. Regained composure, but shaky. He is a cancer widower. Is convinced this will make a difference. Just wanted to call to thank me. Precious. Precious. Precious. I am speechless."

Detroit native Casey Cowell co-founded the data communications giant U.S. Robotics in 1976 and served as CEO before the company merged with 3Com in 1997. He and his family then relocated to Traverse City. "The entire Traverse City area is a fantastic, vibrant community," he said. "Health care here is first class and a cancer center is the next piece Munson Medical Center really felt could be focused on."

A new cancer center has been identified as a top priority for health care in the region. "Casey’s gift has created a solid beginning for the campaign," said Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation President Des Worthington. "We’re hoping his generosity will inspire others to come forward."

The Foundation is at the beginning of its campaign, which is expected to take a couple of years to complete. "People will hear from us as our plans unfold," Worthington said.

Munson Healthcare leadership is working in partnership with local physicians to complete plans for the center. "We know philanthropy must play an important role in turning our vision into reality," said Kathleen McManus, Munson Medical Center Chief Operating Officer. "If the community continues to rally behind the effort, the center could be built within a couple of years."