Laverys Invest in Patient-Centered Cancer Care

Frederick LaveryAs the owner of a chain of successful auto dealerships, Fred Lavery knows that not every customer who comes in his door will be excited about the process of buying a car. Some will be there out of necessity, but it’s still possible – and essential – to provide them with a great experience.

In his mind, the same is true for health care, particularly when treating difficult diseases like cancer.

“If you treat people well, you can help them feel good about having an experience, even if it’s not something they’d choose to do,” Lavery said. “Getting treatment for cancer is not high on anyone’s list. So good cancer care is not just about curing the disease, it’s about improving the patient’s experience while they’re treating the disease.”

Lavery has seen this first-hand. At 82, he’s been treated for cancer four times and had many health care interactions, both good and bad. These experiences have forged a commitment to taking action for other patients in southeast Michigan, investing in care that is thoughtful and responsive to their needs, like the care delivered at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute.

To that end, he and his wife Catherine decided to make a major donation to support important equipment at Henry Ford Health System’s Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, which opens January 20.

In addition to facilitating research advances and clinical trials, the pavilion will offer a comprehensive suite of diagnostic, treatment and supportive oncology services to patients in a calming, welcoming environment designed through patient feedback.

Lavery is excited by the new facility’s “one-stop-shop” approach to cancer care, which reduces the need for exhausting travel, integrates diverse aspects of the treatment process and preserves the patient’s time and energy to fight their disease.

Hardhat tour

Fred Lavery with Henry Ford Cancer Institute’s David Kwon, M.D. during a 2019 hardhat tour of the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion.

“My experience is that most people who are diagnosed with cancer, it hits them pretty hard,” Lavery said. “By having that good clinic facility with capacity to provide everything they need in one place, it makes it easier for them, and that can produce a better result.”

After consulting with Stephen Chang, M.D., director of the Henry Ford Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer program, the Laverys are applying their gift to support advanced scoping and imaging equipment in the pavilion. This technology will support diagnostics, while helping doctors communicate detailed information to patients about their disease and treatment using large, interactive displays.

Lavery is quick to note that the gift is not motivated by a desire for recognition, but rather by a drive to achieve better experiences and outcomes for patients. He hopes that this gift will empower talented, compassionate clinicians like Dr. Chang to provide the best possible care.

“Our gift is not going to produce a revolutionary change for treating cancer, but it will hopefully make people who have the disease have a better experience. That’s what’s important to me.”


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