Mesothelioma Law Firm Donates Record $10.2 Million to Build Cancer Center
Say the word “lawyer” and a bevy of images comes to mind, many of them negative. But the partners at the East Alton, Illinois law firm SimmonsCooper LLC, specializing in Mesothelioma, are hoping to shift such stereotypes, beginning with a record $10.2 million total donation comprised of annual gifts and a multi-year pledge to help fund the development of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, which hosted its grand opening on Thursday, July 10 at 11 a.m.
“It’s no secret that the legal profession gets a bad rap,” said John Simmons, SimmonsCooper founding partner. “Titles aside, our ultimate goal as trial attorneys is the same goal of the doctors and nurses who will soon begin work inside the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute – to prevent and alleviate the suffering of others. And as a firm rooted in helping mesothelioma cancer victims, we are especially proud to be sponsoring this institute.”
The firm is so proud, in fact, that Thursday is an unofficial holiday for the SimmonsCooper office in East Alton, as 275 employees – each invited to bring a guest – will board a fleet of four buses to take part in the grand opening ceremonies in Springfield, Ill.
“The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute is a physical representation of the good work our attorneys do every day to bring justice to our clients,” explained Simmons. “Such state-of-the-art facilities aren’t built every day and we’re eager to help SIU celebrate the millions of lives this Cancer Institute will positively impact.”
The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU spans 63,000 square feet and will serve as a center of cancer care and research for downstate Illinois as well as a new front door for the medical school campus in Springfield. With three floors and a lower level, it consolidates most of the School's multi-disciplinary cancer clinics, now located in several hospital buildings, along with research and outreach services. Seven of SIU’s nine cancer care teams will be housed in the building – breast, colorectal, gynecologic oncology, head and neck, hematology/oncology, prostate and lung. About 55 SIU physician faculty and support staff will be based in the clinical areas of the building.