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William W. Wirtz Allocates $19.5 Million to Northwestern Memorial for Cancer Care and Research

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May 27, 2009

Chicago -

The-late William W. Wirtz earmarked millions to advance research and enhance cancer treatment 

Northwestern Memorial Foundation today announced the inception of the William W. Wirtz Cancer Innovation Fund, a new initiative in support of continued research and clinical advancements within the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  The late William W. Wirtz designated more than $19.5 million to seed the program prior to his passing in 2007.  This generous commitment from the well-known businessman, sportsman, and philanthropic contributor was recently made public.  

“Our father was involved in many philanthropic endeavors during his lifetime,” the five Wirtz Children (Rocky, Gail, Karey, Peter, and Alison) provided in a statement. “He has continued that legacy by arranging for Northwestern Memorial Hospital to receive a sizeable contribution that will allow it to enhance cancer programming at this world-class medical institution.”   

William W. Wirtz’s philanthropic achievements were numerous throughout his lifetime with many of them unknown to the general public.  He championed and spearheaded many charitable causes which included the establishment of Chicago Blackhawk Charities.  Under William W. Wirtz’s direction, Blackhawk Charities took part in programs that offered assistance to those with physical disabilities and efforts aimed at helping disadvantaged and abused children. Another charitable passion of the-late William W. Wirtz was his promotion of health and fitness to youth through national and regional hockey programs. During his tenure Chicago Blackhawks Charities granted more than $8 million to various organizations including the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

In recognition of William W. Wirtz’s generosity, Northwestern Memorial formed this pivotal oncology fund in his honor.  The William W. Wirtz Cancer Innovation Fund will support efforts to enhance patient access to a wide range of essential services for individuals with cancer; recruit leading physicians and physician-scientists specializing in cancer research and treatment; and allow Northwestern Memorial to remain at the vanguard of emerging technologies.

“We are grateful to Mr. Wirtz for his profound generosity,” said Dean M. Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. “His gift, coupled with the vision of his family, will play an important and lasting role in helping to identify and develop novel new therapies and advance the care we provide to patients living with cancer.”

The family further added, “Our father cared deeply about those who were stricken with cancer. We are proud and honored to carry on his wishes by being a part of this most worthy cause.”

Media Contact:

Kris Lathan, Director
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
312-926-2963
klathan@nmh.org

Last UpdateMay 10, 2011
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