A new cancer facility in Bemidji will be called the Sanford Joe Lueken Cancer Center in honor of the late grocery store owner. The Joseph and Janice Lueken Family Foundation has provided a significant lead gift to the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota as part of the Care Without Limits campaign, which will enable Sanford Bemidji to expand its cancer services and centralize them into one location.
Projected to break ground in 2017 and open in 2018, the Sanford Joe Lueken Cancer Center will be added to the southeast corner of the Sanford Bemidji Main Clinic. The $12 million, 20,500 square-foot facility will include 20 infusion suites, 15 exam rooms, on-site pharmacy and lab services, boutique and other patient-centered amenities.
“I was looking for a way to keep his legacy alive in the community,” said Janice Lueken, Joe’s wife. “When I heard about the cancer center, it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. It was so appropriate because it was cancer that took Joe’s life. It also took the lives of both his parents and my mother and so many relatives and friends. We’re not strangers to this horrible disease. It’s just something I wanted to do for him.”
The Sanford Joe Lueken Cancer Center will also create a hub for services like radiation and medical oncology, patient navigation, nutrition, financial counseling, social services, genetic counseling, palliative care and survivorship. Additionally, patients will have access to the latest in clinical trials.
Joe Lueken owned Lueken’s Village Foods stores and received national attention when he opted to sell his business to his 400 employees through an employee stock ownership program. In 2014, Joe passed away at the age of 72 after a battle with cancer. Active in his community, Lueken was a supporter of the Sanford Health Foundation and Bemidji State University Foundation, among other organizations.
“Our goal is to provide the latest treatments and give patients the entire continuum of care through their cancer journey in one location,” said Bryan Nermoe, interim president of Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota. “We thank the Luekens for their extraordinary contribution to health care in this region; it will undoubtedly become a benchmark for patient-centered care.”