in Morgantown has received $25 million from alumnus Ben Statler and his wife, Jo — the largest gift in its history — for programs designed to ensure that rural women are not left behind in the fight against breast cancer.
The university's at its will receive $5 million, much of which will be used to purchase a mobile digital mammography unit. The vehicle — to be called "Bonnie's Bus" after Jo Statler's mother, who died from breast cancer — will travel through fifteen West Virginia counties. In addition, the gift will fund a national recruiting effort to attract leading breast cancer physicians to the center. The state will provide an additional $2.5 million in matching funds for cancer research through its eminent scholars program.
"The vision is to bring vital health care to rural areas of our state that have breast cancer rates above the national average," said WVU president Michael Garrison. "Our goal is to reduce death rates in these parts of West Virginia by 25 percent. In the process, we'll also learn lessons that can be applied nationally about how to raise awareness of this problem in small towns and rural communities."