FOR RELEASE: 11/3/2011Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637

Norma F. Pfriem Foundation presents $2 million grant to support cancer services at Bridgeport Hospital

The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has presented a grant of $2 million to support the programs and services of the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute and Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital.

“The ongoing generous support of the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has allowed Bridgeport Hospital’s cancer services to grow and keep pace with the evolving needs of our patients,” says Steve Jakab, President of the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation.

During the past year, the Pfriem Foundation gift has aided Bridgeport Hospital in a number of areas, including funding for oncology patient navigators. These experienced oncology nurses act as clinicians, care coordinators, patient/family educators and counselors, customizing the plan of care to meet the needs of the patient and his or her family.

The gift has also supported a major expansion to the Breast Care Center facility on 111 Beach Road in Fairfield. New women’s wellness services have been added at the site, including yoga, massage, mental health counseling, naturopathic medicine, nutrition counseling and Pilates.

An earlier gift from the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation resulted in the renaming of Bridgeport Hospital’s cancer program as the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute. The new name also signaled a widening focus, including participation in more clinical trials, the creation of new cancer centers of excellence for gastrointestinal, gentiourological, gynecological and thoracic cancers, as well as the expansion of patient and family support initiatives.

The sister of late Bridgeport Post (later Connecticut Post) publisher John Pfriem, Norma Pfriem was inspired to support Bridgeport Hospital’s cancer services by the care her brother received in the 1980s.

Over the years, Norma Pfriem’s gifts to the hospital have led to many improvements in cancer services, including enhancements to Bridgeport Hospital’s oncology patient unit in 1994 and the establishment of the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center in 1999. The Breast Care Center now has locations at Bridgeport Hospital and at 111 Beach Road in Fairfield, and has become a model not only for other Bridgeport Hospital cancer centers of excellence but also for breast cancer programs throughout the nation.

During her final years, Norma Pfriem took an active interest in the daily patient support activities of the Breast Care Center. When she died on Aug. 21, 2005, the longtime Fairfield resident left her entire estate to charity and selected Bridgeport Hospital as one of her preferred beneficiaries.

The Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute at Bridgeport Hospital, including the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, delivers care to over 1,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year—more than any other hospital in Fairfield County.

Approved with commendation by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer as a Teaching Hospital Cancer Program, the Cancer Institute is a member of the Yale-New Haven Cancer Network, an alliance of hospitals across Connecticut that provides access to the latest breakthroughs and delivers an unparalleled level of expertise in cancer, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Cancer Institute also serves as a leader in cancer education for professionals and the public. A Patient Navigator Program provides patients and their families with support and guidance through diagnosis, treatment and recovery, as well as referrals to hospital and community resources.

The Cancer Institute continues to expand its services for patients at Bridgeport Hospital and in the community. Construction of a new outpatient radiation oncology center continues at 5520 Park Avenue in Trumbull. When completed in early 2012, the new facility will combine with existing services at the same site to form a comprehensive outpatient satellite cancer center.

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.