For Immediate Release February 14, 2024

State Senator Dale Fowler and Representative Paul Jacobs visited the SIH Cancer Institute Tuesday, Feb. 13, to announce two $150,000 member initiative grants from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, totaling $300,000. These grants will fund improvements of the existing cafe area.

“While SIH already provides world-class care close to home, it's obvious that they are always looking for ways on how to do better and be better. There is no doubt that a cancer diagnosis is tough on families and patients receiving treatments themselves. This upgrade will enhance the ability to provide even more nutritious meals for patients and staff, supporting their well-being as they continue the important work in cancer research and care in an atmosphere like no other in the Midwest,” said Senator Fowler.

Patients often experience cancer-related fatigue during their treatment and find it difficult to prepare meals. The cafe expansion will create space for demonstrations to teach patients and their caregivers accessible meal preparation. It will also expand the availability of fresh, healthy meals for patients.

“The Green Leaf Cafe represents more than an area to grab a snack. Often it is a gathering place to have your support team around you, a setting to take in the beauty of life outside of these windows, and a moment of refueling. These funds will allow us to provide a space to give education on nutritional food to aid in our patient's healing process and provide tools for when they leave these walls. The pillar of support extended by our community partners is instrumental for our care delivered and outcomes of our patients in the Southern Illinois region.” said SIH Oncology Director Tina Berry.

The SIH Cancer Institute opened its doors in 2015 and expanded its facilities in 2022.

“We have over 300 patients that come here every (week) day. They bring family, they bring friends and they bring caregivers. Our food service and prep area are important...especially being able to teach our patients how to make simple nutrient-rich meals. Those meals help keep them healthy and decrease their cancer-related fatigue and other symptoms.” said SIH President and CEO John Antes.

Illinois member initiative grants assist local communities in funding renovations, construction and other crucial resources. The funds received by the SIH Cancer Institute will increase meal accessibility to patients, their caregivers and SIH staff.

“For those of you out there dealing with your cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, know this. These men and these women at SIH Cancer Institute, they've got you in their hearts and their minds. They have a plan and they will help you in any way that they can to get you back on your feet, cancer-free.” said Representative Jacobs.

SIH Director of Clinical Oncology Susie O’Neill, SIH Cancer Institute Medical Director Dr. Muhammad Popalzai, SIH Cancer Institute Oncology Dietitian Juile Moses, SIH Green Leaf Cafe Manager Rebecca Uraski and SIH Chief Development Officer Woody Thorne also showed their support at the press conference, available to view here.