Heartfelt gift will support state-of-the-art facilities & comprehensive care for cancer patients & their families.
SARASOTA, Fla. – The Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation is donating $25 million to Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation – the largest donation in the healthcare foundation’s history – to help advance the mission of Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute.
The Jellison Family Foundation was created by Sarasota residents Brian and Sheila Jellison with their three daughters, Christie Jellison Mucha, Hilary Jellison Simonds and Michelle Jellison in the fall of 2018. The foundation is focused on three areas: helping people facing the challenges of cancer, promoting financial literacy and higher education, and supporting local communities of special importance to their family. The patriarch of the family, Brian, unfortunately lost his battle with cancer in 2018.
The former CEO and chairman of Lakewood Ranch-based Roper Technologies, Brian Jellison was an internationally recognized leader and mentor to many. He was a loving husband to his wife of 52 years and a role model for his daughters and their families, including 8 grandchildren.
With the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board’s mission to transform cancer care in the community, the new Cancer Institute was a perfect fit with the Jellison Family Foundation’s mission. The institute encompasses several new facilities that will give patients greater access to the latest treatments, technologies and clinical trials in their own community. Patients and their families will have access to highly specialized oncology physicians, care coordinators and patient navigators to support families through every step in their cancer journey.
“Everyone should be able to get the best cancer care without having to leave home … we feel so lucky to be able to help SMH bring that care home to Sarasota,” said Sheila Jellison, who serves as president of the family foundation, alongside her three daughters, who serve as directors.
“We wanted to do something meaningful and impactful that really spoke to us,” said Hilary Jellison Simonds. “We know first-hand from living through our father’s treatment that dealing with cancer can be a hard, lonely road for patients and caregivers. With this gift, we want to let other families know that they are not alone.”
Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder and Mason Ayres, president of Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, said the Jellison Family Foundation’s gift memorializes the most important aspect of a cancer patient’s journey – HOPE.
“With this donation, they not only honor a beloved husband, father and grandfather, they also give the tremendous gift of hope and courage to people fighting cancer in our community,” Verinder said.
The Jellison’s donation is the largest in the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s history, pushing the healthcare foundation’s cancer campaign closer to its $75 million goal.
“We are so grateful to the Jellison family for their vision and generosity,” said Ayres. “This transformational gift means so much to everyone who has faced cancer either personally or with a loved one.”
The gift shines a light on the promise of the Cancer Institute, which is expanding the local team of oncology specialists, while creating a centralized place that ensures coordinated care and ongoing support for patients and their families and caregivers.
“There are so many wonderful aspects of the Cancer Institute, but one of the most important to us as a family is the hope and support it provides,” said Christie Jellison Mucha. “When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, there is a physical and emotional toll, and it can be overwhelming. Having someone to walk you through all the appointments, questions and concerns is such a gift. It gives the patient and their caregivers a chance to breathe and just focus on getting better.”
In recognition of the gift, the Cancer Institute will now be known as the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, including the 8-story oncology tower now rising on the hospital’s main campus and slated to open in the fall of 2021. An outpatient radiation oncology center SMH recently opened on its University Parkway campus, and all future buildings and services that are part of the Cancer Institute, also will bear the Jellison name.
“We really hope this gift inspires others to support the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation and the Cancer Institute to help make Sarasota an outstanding place to receive cancer care,” said Michelle Jellison.
Sarasota oncologist Richard Brown, MD, who guided Brian Jellison’s cancer care in Sarasota and serves as medical director of the Jellison Cancer Institute, said the new name reflects Sarasota Memorial’s patient-centered approach.
“Cancer treatment may involve chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, but cancer care is much more than that,” said Dr. Brown. “It’s the people and programs supporting and guiding patients through the significant challenges of their cancer experience. The gift from the Jellison Family Foundation will help us ensure local patients receive the compassionate, comprehensive care they deserve.”
The Jellison family learned about the mission of Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute last year when the SMH cancer team asked to display Sheila Jellison’s words of gratitude and hope at the new Radiation Oncology Center, which opened in August 2020.
About Brian D. Jellison
Brian Jellison served as the Roper Technologies CEO for 17 years as part of an exceptional 50-year career in business. During his tenure, Roper transformed its business model and increased its market capitalization from $1.5 billion to over $30 billion. In 2018, Institutional Investor recognized Brian as the Best CEO in the Electrical Equipment & Multi-Industry sector and Harvard Business Review named him one of the Best Performing CEOs in the World.
About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Led by the 9-member, publicly elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, Sarasota Memorial is a regional medical center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 1 million patient visits per year. Sarasota Memorial’s 839-bed, acute-care hospital has been recognized consistently as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services. In the past several years, the Hospital Board has invested more than $250 million in the developing Cancer Institute to provide the community it serves with access to advanced, comprehensive cancer care. For more information, visit smh.com/cancer.
About Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation
Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation is the philanthropic partner that helps Sarasota Memorial Health Care System bring world-class healthcare to our community. For over 40 years, the Healthcare Foundation has provided grants to enhance patient care, facilities, technology, and support ongoing clinical education and medical research. For more information, visit smhf.org.