The Lafayette Family Cancer Institute is the home of Northern Light Cancer Care. Bill and Cookie Horner are hosting a gathering July 24 at The Neighborhood House to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of a campaign they helped lead to bring more advanced cancer care to Downeast Maine. PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTHERN LIGHT

Horners to host celebration of progress in cancer care

MOUNT DESERT — Around the time that Bill Horner retired from his 20 years practicing trauma and critical care medicine at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC), the organization began work on a capital campaign to build a new cancer center in Brewer.

Knowing firsthand the challenges in cancer care in the region, Horner and his wife Cookie signed on to help lead the campaign.

On July 24, the Horners will host a public event at The Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor to celebrate the completion of that 10-year campaign. The celebration is set for 5:30 – 7 p.m.

When he was still practicing, Bill Horner said, he “inherited a lot of breast cancer patients.” At the time, all the cancer care at EMMC took place in the hospital basement.

And, while the doctors often consulted with colleagues at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, “we did it individually,” Horner said.

“Now we have a formal relationship with them,” he said.

The Dana Farber Cancer Care Collaborative has “been a sea change in the approach to cancer treatment,” Horner said.

The completion of the cancer center and collaborative has helped recruit new oncologists to the area. Doctors who might otherwise have headed for fellowships at major academic centers now have opportunities to contribute to research and regular connection with colleagues in Boston and beyond.

“They’ve been able to recruit and retain an excellent cadre of oncologists, both medicial and radiation,” Horner said. A specific pediatric oncology unit has been added in Brewer, and there’s also now a comprehensive breast center.

Edward Benz, CEO emeritus of DFCI and a professor Harvard Medical School, will speak at the event. He has had a lead role in shaping the collaborative program.

Also on hand will be Northern Light Cancer Care physicians Philip Brooks, Thomas Openshaw and Sarah Sinclair.

Patients on MDI have access to the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative through Brooks, who practices at MDI Hospital on a regular basis. He also practices in Ellsworth and Blue Hill.

Contact Northern Light at 973-5055 or

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Liz Graves is a reporter the Islander. She's a California native who came to Maine as a schooner
Liz Graves

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