James M. Cox Foundation donates $5M to create Banner Children's Blood and Cancer Center


Peter Fine, Banner Health's CEO,
right, was joined by Mark Greatrex,
president of Cox Communications,
to announce the donation for a
one-stop cancer clinic for kids.

A $5 million donation from the James M. Cox Foundation will enable Banner Children’s to create a dedicated Blood and Cancer Center at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, providing one-stop, streamlined pediatric cancer care in the East Valley, home to more than 325,000 children under age 18.

This landmark gift will bring together consultation, treatment, and follow-up services exclusively for children and young adults up to 19 years who have blood disorders or cancer. Consolidating the existing pediatric hematology oncology provider clinic and the outpatient pediatric treatment center, both currently operating in separate locations on the medical campus, will create an integrated cancer center delivering highly coordinated, high-quality care for some of Banner Health’s most complex pediatric patients.

“We’re pleased to continue the work we started with Banner over a decade ago to help create an integrated cancer center,” said Jim Kennedy, chairman emeritus, Cox Enterprises and chairman, James M. Cox Foundation. “Cancer is scary, and even more so when it’s your child. We’re happy to do our small part to help make treatment options easier for children and their families.”

The James M. Cox Foundation has a legacy of advancing cancer care in Arizona, including a $5 million gift to Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2012. That donation enabled Banner to establish the Cox Center for Integrative Oncology, which offers individualized prevention, screening and diagnosis programs, rehabilitation, and community outreach programs in metro Phoenix.

“Through this grant, hundreds of patients and their families will receive care from a multidisciplinary team of experts all in one place, from diagnosis through lengthy treatment,” said Andy Petersen, president and CEO of the Banner Health Foundation. “This will substantially ease the additional stressors placed on children and their families when receiving cancer treatment.”

“Huge thanks to the Cox Foundation for their investment in Banner Children’s. This generous gift is the latest example of our company and the Cox family’s investment in Mesa and the greater Phoenix area,” said Mark Greatrex, president of Cox Communications. “We’re proud to contribute to the forward progress of the communities we serve; whether it’s our commitment to digital equity and connecting underserved communities or investing in our fiber-rich network to bring the latest broadband innovations to Arizonans.”

In 2021, the Banner Children’s at Desert oncology program saw more than 4,500 patient clinic visits and outpatient consults, a 27% increase over the previous year. Growth in this highly specialized area of care is expected to continue over the next decade alongside projected growth in the East Valley’s population of young families.

Banner Health will fully renovate and transform the newly dedicated space into a welcoming, contemporary clinic environment, with state-of-the-art medical equipment and an aesthetic designed with the unique needs of children in mind.

The new center will include five exam rooms; four private infusion rooms; two infusion bays; and space that will allow for wrap-around services to support the patient, siblings and parents in navigating cancer (such as psychosocial support and integrative therapies). As kids grow into adult care, the center will include formalized programs that provide streamlined care as they manage the post-effects of a cancer recovery. The center will also enable medical providers to administer IV antibiotics sooner for especially ill oncology patients currently routed to the Emergency Department.