SAVANNAH, Tenn., May 17, 2011 -- For many in rural areas, a cancer diagnosis can start an avalanche of logistical challenges that make successful treatment that much harder. A new public, private partnership is about to make those challenges much more manageable for families in the Savannah Tennessee region by bringing cutting edge treatment much closer to home.
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode today joined Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative President (TVEC) Dennis Bailey to announce $740,000 in zero-interest financing for the new Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center at Hardin Medical Center (HMC).
"Access to good healthcare is critical to the economic health and quality of life of people who live in rural communities," said Goode. "Providing the best treatment facilities for families and businesses in our rural communities saves time and money, but most important, it saves lives."
The USDA Rural Development (RD) Rural Economic Development Loan funds work through local electric cooperatives to provide affordable financing for projects that create good jobs and improve the lives of people in rural communities. Additional funding for the cancer treatment facility includes $920,000 from HMC and $660,000 from the Darryl Worley Foundation for a total investment of $2.4 million in better healthcare and jobs in Hardin County.
HMC has provided outpatient chemotherapy services to cancer patients in Hardin and surrounding counties for many years. The facility improvements will make it possible for HMC to expand the treatment options available locally to help lessen the impact of follow-up care and treatment for cancer survivors and their families.
Country music artist Darryl Worley lost both his grandfathers to cancer in Hardin County. He said he started his foundation because, "I don't want others to give up because of the daily trips to Jackson that used to be necessary for treatment."
More than 400 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in HMC's six county service area every year. Of those, about 60 percent will require radiation treatment. As many as 25 daily trips to larger cities for the series of 15 minute radiation therapy treatments come at a time when patients are mentally and physically at their weakest and least able to travel.
Rural Development community programs finance construction or improvements to essential services like reliable access to clean water, wastewater treatment, healthcare, education, job training and first responder facilities. Loan-guarantees encourage private lenders to expand the availability of affordable financing in rural communities. Direct loans and grants create sound financial opportunities for local governments to meet essential infrastructure needs.
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Representative Matt Varino, Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative Director of Member Services Don Doran, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Pippin, Hardin Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Charlotte Burns, Savannah Industrial Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Steve Bunnell and RD Area Director Arlisa Armstrong and staff Penny Cliburn, Joel Howard and Taylor Marable.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, businesses, community infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year Rural Development assisted more than 1.5 million rural Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.06 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan-guarantees and grants.
For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in southwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Jackson at 731-668-2091, ext. 2, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 ext. 1495 or visit us at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410,
or call (800) 795-3272 TDD (615) 783-1397.