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Norma Pfriem Foundation gift to Bridgeport Hospital supports cancer care

Norma Pfriem Foundation

Monday, January 11, 2016

BRIDGEPORT, CT – The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has provided a new $2 million gift to Bridgeport Hospital to support the care of cancer patients at the hospital’s main campus and outpatient locations.

The gift was presented Dec. 21 by Pfriem Foundation trustees Paul Miller and Matthew Woods to Bridgeport Hospital Foundation President Steve Jakab, Norma Pfriem Breast Center Executive Director Donna Twist and Norma Pfriem Cancer Institute Patient Services Director Peg Parniawski. This is the 10th consecutive year the Pfriem Foundation has donated to the hospital since the death of Fairfield philanthropist Norma Pfriem in 2005.

“The generosity of Norma Pfriem and the Pfriem Foundation has had a profound impact on the level and quality of cancer care provided by Bridgeport Hospital over the years,” Jakab said. “Given that the hospital serves more than 1,000 new cancer patients each year and the breast center has served nearly 20,000 patients to date, well over 30,000 patients and numerous family members have benefitted from Pfriem Foundation gifts to the hospital.”

Pfriem supported a number of community organizations and causes during her lifetime. In appreciation for the care provided by Bridgeport Hospital to her late brother, John Pfriem, publisher of the Bridgeport Post (later the Connecticut Post), Norma Pfriem provided a gift that established the Norma Pfriem Cancer Center at the hospital in 1994. Another gift in 1999 established the Norma Pfriem Breast Center, with locations at Bridgeport Hospital and Fairfield.

When Pfriem died, she left her entire estate to charity and selected Bridgeport Hospital as one of her beneficiaries. Administered by the Norma Pfriem Foundation, the first gift from the estate resulted in the renaming of the Cancer Center as the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute, to reflect the expansion of Bridgeport Hospital’s cancer services.

“Norma Pfriem Foundation gifts have supported our outpatient infusion site, our nurse navigators and truly helped us build a comprehensive cancer program that exceeds the national standards set forth by our accrediting body, the American College of Surgeons,” said Parniawski.

“Grants to the breast center have supported the establishment of a genetic risk assessment program for breast and ovarian cancers, a nurse navigator program and a variety of support groups for patients as well as children and teens,” Twist added.

In addition, recent Pfriem Foundation gifts have been earmarked for a Healing Garden for patients and their families at the Park Avenue Medical Center, a comprehensive outpatient facility that will open in Trumbull next May, bringing together services of Bridgeport Hospital, Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and the large multispecialty Northeast Medical Group. All the providers are members of Yale New Haven Health System.

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health System, 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. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 62 verified burn centers in the United States.