Published on November 12, 2018

A family’s commitment to quality cancer care

Cook Family Charitable Fund

Helping others is a Cook family affair.

Their foundation, known as the Cook Family Charitable Fund, raised $30,000 through their annual golf tournament in July and donated it to the cancer services expansion fund for Cape Cod Hospital.

“This donation is very personal,” said Peter Cook, Sr. “My wife was born at Cape Cod Hospital and grew up in Dennis. Our daughter works here, lives on the Cape, has delivered all four of her children here and one of them is a cancer survivor. It is really meaningful for our family.”

His daughter is Alison Joyce, RN, an oncology nurse who works in the Davenport-Mugar Cancer Center at Cape Cod Hospital. In 2012, her then three-year-old daughter, Raegan, was diagnosed with leukemia and subsequently a Wilms tumor (a cancerous tumor of the kidney.) She was treated with chemotherapy over a period of two years at the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is now doing well and has been in remission for five years.

The experience inspired Alison to return to caring for oncology patients, something she used to do before her children were born. She has worked at the Davenport-Mugar Cancer Center for five years.

“This year, my brother said the money we raised could go towards oncology and he asked me where I wanted it to go,” said Alison. “Since I work here and a lot of my friends are coming through the clinic [for treatment] I thought it would be nice to have the money right here to go towards the new expansion. My dream is that pediatric oncology services will be available on the Cape someday.”

The Cook’s gift is an investment in the community, said Beatrice Gremlich, senior development officer for the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation.

“We are so appreciative of this donation,” she said.

The expansion project at Cape Cod Hospital calls for cancer services to be housed on the first and second floors of a new medical tower and will include the following:

  • 45 infusion bays to administer intravenous medications. It will be double the current space and will be able to accommodate up to 50,000 patient visits per year and significantly reduce patient wait times.
  • Two state-of-the-art linear accelerator suites to deliver radiation treatments.
  • A new computed tomography (CT) suite to provide pre-treatment detection scanning for patients diagnosed with cancer.

“While we do a really good job of giving very good care and we have all the technology to provide high-quality care, it will be nicer to have a more comfortable environment for the patients. Feeling comfortable and at ease where you are plays a big role,” said Jeffrey Martin, MD, a Cape Cod Hospital radiation oncologist who played in the golf tournament.

Origins of the Cook Family Charitable Fund

The fund was originally called the Jordyn Cook Epilepsy Fund to raise money and fund a website through Massachusetts General Hospital. Peter Jr.’s daughter Jordyn, 21, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was three years old and it took him and his wife a long time to find information about her neurological disorder.

“There was no information concisely in one spot,” said Peter, Jr. “We started working with MGH and that’s where it all really started.”

Their first pledge was the sole funding source for the educational website, “Growing Up with Epilepsy.”

In 2016, the fund became the Cook Family Charitable fund when Peter Sr. decided to add another level to their charity by supporting other causes, including support services for people with addiction, cancer and intellectual disabilities.

“I’m happy that Alison got to pick where the money was going this year,” said Peter Jr. “She has been a tremendous supporter of our foundation. It has been wrapped around my daughter’s epilepsy needs and developmental delays and my father’s desire to help people with addiction. For Alison to get her turn and pick Cape Cod Hospital, where she works and is part of the community, is a good choice.”

“This is just a wonderful cause we want to continue to support,” said Peter Sr.