Ashley Geigle helps daughter Melaynee Geigle sign her name on the Avera beam. Melaynee was diagnosed with low grade neuroblastoma at 10 months old in August of 2014. When Melaynee was 15 months old she had the tumor removed and was declared in remission in November of 2015. Melaynee now has scans every six months and thing are looking great! Ashley Geigle quotes, “When you hear that your child has cancer, the pain is unexplainable. When Melaynee was declared in remission, we shouted for joy! We would like t

Avera beam signing held in Murdo

The Murdo Lion’s Club welcomed Avera Oncologist Dr. Sreekanth Donepudi and Avera Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mikel Holland to the annual chili feed on March 18. Dr. Donepudi and Dr. Holland provided the Jones County community with a presentation regarding awareness of the Helmsley Center and Avera Cancer Institute coming to Pierre the fall of 2018. 
Radiation oncology is required in at least 50 percent of cancer treatment cases. Last year a total of 260 patients travelled out of Pierre to receive treatment from larger facilities. Dr. Holland and Dr. Sreekanth are pleased to announce that radiation oncology will become available at the Avera Cancer Institute allowing local treatment options for patients in our region.  
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Avera St. Mary’s with a seven and a half million dollar grant to be used toward the construction of the building and for use in purchasing radiology equipment. The Helmsley Trust is also pleased to offer a two and half million dollar fundraising challenge opportunity that will be matched dollar for dollar. To find further fundraising information and opportunities please visit
Following Avera’s presentation in Murdo, local survivors, patients and those touched by cancer had the opportunity to sign a wooden beam that will be incorporated as a part of the new cancer institute building.  Avera considers the signatures of South Dakota families as a way of including and involving people from every region of the state in the life changing project. Avera plans to continue travelling to communities statewide with the wooden beam, meeting people, hearing stories, making connections and building community. Signatures written in purple ink are those of cancer survivors and patients and those signed in black are those of whom have lost their battle to cancer or of family in memory of a loved one. Stay tuned to the Coyote for a beam signing opportunity coming to a clinic near you.
Avera values the heart of the small town communities of South Dakota. Dr. Holland shares that they are important to our region, to the project and are in fact the center of South Dakota. 
Ground breaking for the construction of the Helmsley Center and Avera Cancer Institute is scheduled to take place in April of 2017. 

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