Many gave to Hormel Institute campaign
By Tim Ruzek
Dr. Joseph Accurso sent an e-mail earlier this year to his fellow physicians at Austin Medical Center with a proposal to raise money for the Hormel Institute expansion.
He said that he and his wife, Renee, would give a dollar-to-dollar match for donations made by other AMC doctors.
As the local campaign for the cancer-research facility’s expansion ended this week, the Accursos went beyond that by pledging $25,000 to the "Grow Science, Grow Austin" effort.
As of Friday, about another $20,000 in pledges had been made by employees from Austin Medical Center, according to Gail Dennison, spokeswoman for the Hormel Institute.
Accurso, the medical director of radiology, said he and his wife did a similar dollar-for-dollar match during fundraising for Austin Medical Center’s building project. They felt the institute’s project also is worthwhile to support.
"They’re doing some amazing work," Accurso said.
Many others felt the same way about the institute in recent months as its volunteer fundraising group announced Friday that $1.4 million was raised for the $20 million expansion. The group had a $1 million goal.
Dennison said the campaign has pages filled with names of people and groups that pledged money. The campaign also received numerous in-kind donations during the five-month effort, she said.
US Bank, which has a branch in Austin, was recognized at a campaign finale Friday for pledging $100,000.
Several other businesses pledged significant amounts, including Quality Pork Processors, Austin Holiday Inn and the Adams, Rizzi & Sween law firm.
The institute is doing amazing research on cancer that most people don’t know about, Accurso said.
Two to three people a week come through Accurso’s radiology department who are found to have abnormalities that need further screening for cancer, he said.
Cancer has affected members of Accurso’s own family and of his wife’s. "Everybody’s got a cancer story," he said.