Joe Schwarz was a hard-working entrepreneur who achieved the American dream and had an enormous sense of gratitude. When he died in March of 2018 after a second battle with cancer, his widow Shelly Schwarz wanted to honor his grateful spirit and recognize the care he received as an Indiana University Health patient. She has committed $10 million to establish the Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center at IU Health North Hospital.
Schwarz remembered, “When he got cancer, Joe didn’t feel sorry for himself. Like he did in business, he was always about finding a solution.” After researching treatment options, the couple decided on IU Health for Joe’s care.
“The last six years, cancer has played such a big part in our lives,” Schwarz said. “We have witnessed firsthand how devastating it can be to the person going through it, as well as their loved ones. The Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center is going to be an all-in-one facility with the best doctors, the best equipment, and a lot of the extras that add to the cancer care.”
The Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center will make it possible for more people to access the renowned care offered by IU Health. Under one roof, the center will offer radiation oncology spaces and infusion rooms, plus support services including a pharmacy and laboratory. Also planned is an Integrative Health and Wellness Center to offer programs including art, music and yoga that benefit patients and their caregivers. The center will cost $55 million and will open in 2020.
Schwarz knows her husband would approve. “Joe was always orchestrating things in life. So I’d like to believe he’s up there looking down and made the Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center possible–a place where people are comforted, not just cared for. I’m happy to have made this gift to the IU Health Foundation,” she said.
Though the couple, who met in 1991, had homes in other parts of the country, their philanthropy remained focused on Indiana. “He always said ‘I made my money in Indiana, I want to pay it forward to the people in Indiana,’” said Schwarz.
This represents the largest single gift to date to IU Health from a living donor. IU Health Chief Philanthropy Officer Crystal Miller said she has been awed by the determination she sees in Shelly Schwarz to help others facing similar healthcare situations as what she and Joe Schwarz went through. “Even in the midst of her grief, Shelly is caring for others with this gift,” said Miller. “She credits Joe as her inspiration, but she inspires me.”
View Shelly Schwarz talking about her gift here.
For more information about how you can make a difference in the lives of IU Health patients, contact IU Health Foundation Executive Director, Philanthropy Nick Oyler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.962.1781.