As reported by the New Britain Herald, September 27, 2004.

$10 Million to Fight

By Daniel Remin

FARMINGTON -- A dedication ceremony for The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center was held Sunday at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Ray and Carole Neag, both natives of Torrington, donated $10 million to the center.

Dr. Peter Deckers, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of UConn’s medical school, addressed the audience.

"We’re here talking about a disease that has affected many people," Deckers said.

Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, director of the cancer center and Philip Austin, president of UConn, talked about how the center will treat people with all types of cancer, research for a cure and offer outreach programs.

"Comprehensive means that we are going to cover the entire spectrum of cancer," she said. "We will cover outreach. We will go into communities of the underserved and underinsured. We have started a Connecticut critical trials network which will unite many institutions in the state of Connecticut for the first time so we can deliver uniform, state-of-the-art cancer therapy for the entire state of Connecticut. We are the cancer center for the state of Connecticut."

Part of the research being done includes bringing together clinical and lab personnel to brainstorm and share ideas. One such development involves vaccine therapy.

"The cancer doctors recognized in ovarian cancer, for example, although 80 percent of patients go into remission, unfortunately 50 percent or more would recur," Runowicz said. "We went into the lab and created a vaccine to the patient’s tumor and then after we got it into remission, slam-dunked the cancer with this vaccine. We now have launched that clinical trial. I can’t tell you if it works because we’re in the process of doing the trial, but I can tell you that the biological plausibility of that concept couldn’t have happened if we didn’t have this bridge. My job is to build more bridges, and now we have the resources to do so."

Another example involves the cancer center working with the dental school in oral oncology. A further benefit to Connecticut residents is that they don’t have to travel out-of-state to receive cancer treatment.

"Recruiting people is a major, major task," Runowicz said. "Having the resources to do it is even harder. Now, with the generosity of the Neags, we have the means of stopping patients from going to Boston or New York because we will have at this cancer center what they need. We will be the leaders."

Ray, who recently finished cancer treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, graduated from UConn and is retired. He co-founded Arrow International, a manufacturer of disposable critical care and cardiac care products. He served as the company’s vice chairman. In 1999, he gave $23 million to UConn, some of which went to create the Ray Neag Distinguished Chair in Vascular Biology at the University’s health center.

Carole, a registered nurse, is a member of the UConn School of Nursing Advisory Board and established two scholarships at the school.

"Ray and I sought to have a comprehensive cancer center," she said. "Each of us has been touched by cancer through an acquaintance, a friend, a loved one and even ourselves. It is an honor and a privilege for Ray and I to be able to help in the search for a cure through research and treatment."

"I believe that we should have first-class health care (in Connecticut)" Ray said. "Sometimes it doesn’t go far enough. A lot of people here go up to Boston because they can’t get the care that perhaps they need to help them get better here in Connecticut. Why should that be? We have wealth in this state, we have good people in this state. That’s what motivated me to say I think I can do something ..Let us pray that in the minds of those that try to heal us is the magic bullet or bullets that help to cure this awful disease."

The Neags were presented with a plaque. They received a small one while a larger one will be placed in the cancer center.

The plaque says: "The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, established in recognition of the extraordinary generosity that will be used for the discovery of new knowledge, the teaching of new knowledge to future generations of scientists and physicians and the delivery of remarkable care based on excellence in teaching."

At the bottom of the plaque is a phrase from the Neags, which says, "Our hope is to leave this world a little better for being here."

About 100 people attended the event.