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Building an international corporation was business, says Jon Huntsman, Sr., Finding a cure for cancer is his vision and passion. Now he's taking his battle against cancer into a new phase.
Cancer patients raise his spirits and determination. Huntsman visits with them in his hospital. He says, "Every patient who comes here needs hope."
The battle to find a cure happens on three floors next door at the Huntsman Cancer Institute's research center. Scientists have identified the genes for colon, thyroid, melanoma and two forms of breast cancer.
"More cures already in our young history than any other facility in the world. And we're going to continue to make that progress and to move forward and to push ourselves just every day, farther and farther and harder and harder," Huntsman said.
If there is a surgeon or a researcher doing important work somewhere in the country, Huntsman wants that person on his team. Months ago, he announced the expansion of the hospital, doubling its size.
Over the years, the Huntsman family has donated hundreds of millions of dollars. Businesses and individuals have joined them. "One hundred percent of every dollar goes right directly into our medical or research areas, and our overheads are all covered by the family," he said.
Every hallway is decorated with original artwork. Huntsman sees a connection with healing. "My mind has shifted from this chemo drug to this beautiful work of art," he said.
It's not just art but food too that helps. He says if a patient can order a chocolate milkshake at 3 a.m., it helps raise the spirits a little.
"When I was in the hospital with prostate cancer, I was there 11 days. There was no place for family or friends or associates, and a lot of my arrangement for this was through my own experience," Huntsman said.
The research push goes on. Huntsman lost his mother to breast cancer in the 1980s and has seen many friends suffer. "Oh, absolutely we're gonna beat cancer, there's no question, we're gonna beat it," he said.
With a new year and renewed efforts, Huntsman says cancer will be stopped here. He calls his institute the "Cancer Campus" and says whatever his doctors and researchers learn there, they share with hospitals across the state.