HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Leaders at Hampton University gathered on Wednesday to bring attention to what they say is a lack of promised funding for their Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute.
HUPTI was born from the visionary leadership of Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey, who secured private funding for and founded the Institute, the world’s largest free-standing proton therapy cancer treatment center, in 2005. At the time, data showed Hampton Roads led the nation in prostate cancer deaths — and African American men were more than twice as likely to die from cancer than white men.
The goal for Wednesday’s meeting was to bring attention to the funding these leaders say was promised to them by the government but they have yet to receive. They say it would help their fight against cancer.
Vice President of Government Relations Bill Thomas was joined by former Republican Del. David Yancey, HUPTI graduates, and a host of university staff members.
Thomas took the microphone and spoke with passion.
He said he was disappointed and frustrated that their Proton Therapy Center — where they care for hundreds of cancer patients — had yet to receive their funding.
According to his office, in December 2019 Gov. Ralph Northam included more than $11 million for the 2020-2022 budget.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many things have been put on the back burner, but Thomas says this is the time where they need the money because cancer patients. and African Americans in general, are most impacted.
“It’s about fairness access to equal opportunity, pure and simple. We want to have the same advantages and opportunity to prosper in our community,” said Thomas.
The pandemic, like many other things, has pushed plans aside unexpectedly. Thomas hopes the work in treating people and saving lives will again be the priority.
“We are just saying for God almighty help us, help us, help us.”
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