Skip to Main Content


  • Helmsley Grant to Expand Cancer Services at the Avera Cancer Institute

Published on December 20, 2012

Helmsley Grant to Expand Cancer Services at the Avera Cancer Institute


SIOUX FALLS (Dec. 19, 2012) - The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded a $4.2 million grant to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls to expand radiation oncology services at the Avera Cancer Institute.

The grant will fund implementation of a Stereotactic Radiosurgery/Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SRS/SBRT) program at the Avera Cancer Institute at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center.  This program will bring the newest, state-of-the-art SRS/SBRT equipment to the state.

Trustee Walter Panzirer of the Helmsley Charitable Trust said, “This project is a continuation of the Trust’s goal to bring state of the art cancer treatment to patients in the upper Midwest. This advanced form of treatment will save lives by providing a new approach to some cancers.”

The SRS/SBRT technology uses a linear accelerator that delivers very high-dose radiation to target tumors. The procedure is non-invasive, making treatment for non-surgical candidates a real possibility.  It targets to eliminate tumors even as small as four millimeters.  The treatments are complete in one-to-five one-day sessions, rather than the traditional four-to-six weeks of daily treatments.

“This marks a wonderful opportunity for cancer care in the region,” said Dr. James Simon, Avera Medical Group radiation oncologist. “Those patients with inoperable cancer now have a new option for treatment. Having SRS/SBRT technology in this region will make a difference in the lives of many patients.”

The new equipment will be installed in a vacant linear accelerator vault at the Avera Cancer Institute. The vault was built during the construction of the Prairie Center in anticipation of expanded service.  Installation is expected to be complete in the fall of 2013.


About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grant-making, it has committed over $700 million to a wide range of charitable organizations.   For more information on the Trust and its programs, please visit the website,


About Avera

Avera is the leading health system in the region providing high-quality care close to home at more than 300 locations in some 100 communities across South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota. Avera’s unique partnership model makes possible a wide range of medical services through the expertise of specialists, sophisticated technology and cutting-edge research to meet the health care needs of local communities and providers. Avera is the nation’s leading provider of eCARE services. Avera has four cancer treatment locations:  The Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, Avera Cancer Centers in Aberdeen, Mitchell and Yankton.  Plans are underway to expand services with the addition of the Avera Cancer Institute Marshall in Marshall, MN.