Joliet Businessman Gives $1.5 Million to Fund new Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital
Joliet, IL (Nov. 15, 2011)— Joliet businessman Edward Czerkies recently donated $1.5 million in memory of his wife, Carolyn, to benefit the Silver Cross Replacement Hospital at 1-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. This generous gift from the Czerkies family will support the construction of The University of Chicago Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital opening in April 2012. The building housing the Cancer Center will be named the Carolyn J. Czerkies Pavilion.
Carolyn passed away in 2000 at the age of 58 after suffering from multiple myeloma—cancer of the bone marrow. The couple traveled back and forth to several major academic medical centers to get the best care to treat her cancer.
"I remember how difficult it was for our family," Czerkies said. "So when I heard about the new Cancer Center at Silver Cross and discussed it with my sons, we decided this was a good project and something that we wanted to be a part of."
State-of-the-art Cancer Care
Last year, Silver Cross announced its plans to build a 20,000 square foot outpatient cancer-treatment center with The University of Chicago Medical Center. The partnership brings together The University of Chicago specialists and their access to advanced and investigational therapies in a community hospital setting. The facility will provide state-of-the-art chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as access to innovative clinical trials.
"Ed understands the importance of having a state-of-the-art cancer center available close to home," said Paul Pawlak, President and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital. "We are grateful for his investment in Silver Cross making sure quality care is available for future generations in Will County."
Local Business Leaders and Philanthropists
Born in the back of the family car on the way to Silver Cross Hospital, Ed Czerkies grew up on Joliet's eastside as the youngest of 7 children. His father worked at U.S. Steel. His mother served as a housekeeper at Silver Cross during World War II.
Ed graduated from Joliet Township High School and went on to earn his degree from Northern Illinois University. While working for his brother's construction company to put himself through college, he recognized his passion for construction, specifically concrete work. "I enjoyed construction so much that I never considered it work," Czerkies said.
Over the past 40 years, Ed built many homes and industrial facilities in Joliet, Shorewood and Plainfield. In 1992, he built a storage facility, which Carolyn operated until she was no longer able due to the cancer. "She was the brains of the operation,” Czerkies said. "I could always count on her for sensible advice."
Carolyn also grew up in Joliet as the oldest of six children. She graduated from Providence Catholic High School and worked for Illinois Securities, Argonne National Laboratories and Joliet Junior College. The couple met at St. Thaddeus Church when Ed was in college and married in 1965. Together they have three sons (all born at Silver Cross Hospital) and seven grandchildren.
"Carolyn was a devoted mother attending all the boys' baseball and basketball games when they were growing up," Czerkies said. “This new cancer center will be a fitting tribute to her life."
In addition to this generous gift to Silver Cross Hospital, over the past 10 years the Czerkies family has made several significant contributions to other charitable organizations including the Mayo Clinic, International Myeloma Foundation, and Joliet Junior College Scholarship Program in memory of Carolyn.
For more information about investing in the Silver Cross Replacement Hospital, contact the Silver Cross Foundation at (815) 300-7105.