SARASOTA — The Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation is donating $25 million to Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, the largest donation in the healthcare foundation’s history, to help advance the mission of Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute.
The foundation was created by Sarasota residents Brian and Sheila Jellison with their three daughters, Christie Jellison Mucha, Hilary Jellison Simonds and Michelle Jellison, in the fall of 2018.
The foundation is focused on three areas: helping people facing the challenges of cancer, promoting financial literacy and higher education, and supporting local communities of special importance to their family.
The patriarch of the family, Brian, lost his battle with cancer in 2018.
The former CEO and chair of Lakewood Ranch-based Roper Technologies, Jellison was an internationally recognized leader and mentor to many.
He was a loving husband to his wife of 52 years and a role model for his daughters and their families, including eight grandchildren.
With the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board’s mission to transform cancer care in the community, the new Cancer Institute was a perfect fit with the Jellison Family Foundation’s mission.
The institute encompasses several new facilities that will give patients greater access to the latest treatments, technologies and clinical trials in their own community. Patients and their families will have access to highly specialized oncology physicians, care coordinators and patient navigators to support families through every step in their cancer journey.
“Everyone should be able to get the best cancer care without having to leave home … we feel so lucky to be able to help SMH bring that care home to Sarasota,” said Sheila Jellison, who serves as president of the family foundation, alongside her three daughters, who serve as directors.
“We wanted to do something meaningful and impactful that really spoke to us,” said Hilary Jellison Simonds. “We know firsthand from living through our father’s treatment that dealing with cancer can be a hard, lonely road for patients and caregivers. With this gift, we want to let other families know that they are not alone.”
Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder and Mason Ayres, president of Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, said the Jellison Family Foundation’s gift memorializes the most important aspect of a cancer patient’s journey — hope.
“With this donation, they not only honor a beloved husband, father and grandfather, they also give the tremendous gift of hope and courage to people fighting cancer in our community,” Verinder said.
The Jellisons’ donation pushes the healthcare foundation’s cancer campaign closer to its $75 million goal.
“We are so grateful to the Jellison family for their vision and generosity,” said Ayres. “This transformational gift means so much to everyone who has faced cancer either personally or with a loved one.”
The gift shines a light on the promise of the Cancer Institute, which is expanding the local team of oncology specialists, while creating a centralized place that ensures coordinated care and ongoing support for patients and their families and caregivers.
In recognition of the gift, the Cancer Institute will now be known as the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, including the eight-story oncology tower now rising on the hospital’s main campus and slated to open in the fall of 2021.
An outpatient radiation oncology center SMH recently opened on its University Parkway campus, and all future buildings and services that are part of the Cancer Institute, also will bear the Jellison name.