By Patty Kim - July 14, 2023
About 70 people gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the new Moffitt Cancer Center at Port Tampa Bay. Moffitt Cancer Center, Port Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Lightning helped make the new community outreach and education center a reality.
This new space allows Moffitt to connect with our community in a whole new way. There are several initiatives planned for easy access to Moffitt scheduling, on-site mobile screening, cancer education programs, digital engagement and more.
Florida is second in the nation for the highest rate of new melanoma cases, and nearly 1 in 10 Floridians have skin cancer. Moffitt’s Mole Patrol offered free skin screenings to the community, including maritime workers at the Port and ThunderBug, the Lightning’s mascot. Experts screened 37 people and discovered 14 suspicious lesions during the one-hour event. When the Mole Patrol identifies suspicious lesions, patients are armed with follow-up recommendations to be shared with their primary care physicians or dermatologists.
“This center will save lives. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable, and even more can be cured if caught early with screening,” said Dr. Patrick Hwu, president and CEO of Moffitt. “This is a very dense area where you get a lot of traffic. Tampa Bay is a growing area and many people come down to Sparkman Wharf, The Florida Aquarium and cruises. We’re going to be able to educate a lot of people about how to prevent cancer and find it early.”
"This center will save lives. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable, and even more can be cured if caught early with screening."- Dr. Patrick Hwu, President and CEO
Paul Anderson, president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay, met founder H. Lee Moffitt 40 years ago when Moffitt served as speaker of the Florida House. He never thought that one day he would walk through the doors of a cancer center named after him to seek cancer care.
“Port Tampa Bay is incredibly proud to partner with a world-class institution like Moffitt Cancer Center to bring cancer resources and education to our community and guests. My life has personally been touched by cancer and I proudly serve on Moffitt’s Foundation Board of Directors and have seen firsthand how invaluable their support and care can be for an individual facing a cancer concern,” Anderson said. “I want to thank the Lightning Foundation for their assistance in making this shared vision a reality.”
Despite being just an idea 10 months ago during Hockey Fights Cancer night with the Tampa Bay Lightning, this new center has finally come to fruition, said Elizabeth Frazier, EVP of Community Development and Social Impact for VSG and the Lightning.
“Vinik Sports Group and the Tampa Bay Lightning are proud supporters of Moffitt and Port Tampa Bay,” Frazier said. “We’re honored to provide funds for visionary projects that offer lifesaving programs in our community. Cancer affects us all, and raising awareness and providing resources is crucial for our growing downtown and Water Street communities.”