Things are looking up at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center these days.

More importantly, however, the recent success in fundraising at the Falls hospital will likely have a positive impact on residents in the city and across the county.

Specifically, this week's announcement about a $1.5 million donation from the Golisano Foundation means that the health care facility's long-term plan to develop a new oncology center is that much closer to reality. 

This is great news for county residents who, once the cancer treatment center is completed, will no longer be forced to travel to neighboring Erie County for potentially life-saving treatment. 

The 6,000-square-foot facility, to be located at the Schoellkopf Building, will establish a "better system of cancer care" for the Niagara region, with special consideration for the disadvantaged. 

"The new medical oncology center is poised to become a center for excellence for providing cancer care for all residents including people with intellectual and development disabilities, a population that often falls through the cracks of complex health care systems, and specialty care including early detection, cancer screening and treatment," said Anne Costello, director of the Golisano Foundation. 

The expanded cancer services to be offered at this new facility are clearly needed.

That's not just the opinion of hospital officials. 

It is backed up in numbers from the state health department which show Niagara County has the sixth highest cancer rate among all 62 New York counties, has a cancer mortality rate that is 35.5 percent higher than the state average and a cancer death rate that is higher than 76 percent of all other counties. 

This important project would not have happened without one thing: Partnerships. 

Plans for the new oncology center are coming together as a result of the support of the foundation which was created by Paychex founder B. Thomas Golisano in 1985 to support a "better world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities."

The Golisano-Memorial relationship dates back to the 2016 opening of the Golisano Center for Community Health on the hospital's 10th Street campus. For that project, Golisano donated $3.5 million to build the center and his total gifts to do date have now well exceeded the $5 million mark.  

The cancer center project is moving forward under an ongoing partnership involving memorial medical center and Roswell Park, one of the premier cancer treatment facilities in New York. 

Partnerships of this nature allow economically challenged communities like the Falls to strive for greater goals and, when successful, to achieve things that turn promising ideas into successful and worthwhile endeavors. 

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