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Abben Cancer Center History
Northwest Iowans needed a cancer center, specifically a radiation center, closer to home than had been available. Five northwest Iowa hospitals responded with a plan to create a partnership of hospitals for the sole purpose of seeking state approval for a cancer center and then to share in the operations of the center.

 In February 1996, the Iowa Health Facilities Council approved the development of a radiation center to be located in Spencer. Already, volunteers of the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation had undertaken an ambitious community fund drive to pay for the building and equipment. Northwest Iowans rallied around the cause. Thousands of gifts poured in ranging from $1 to more than $100,000. At the kickoff of the fund-raising campaign, Spencer Municipal Utilities issued a challenge grant of $1.5 million, pledging to match all community gifts up to that generous amount. The hospital also made a major lead gift, committing $1 million to the project.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in early October 1996. Construction began immediately and the crew work diligently through the winter. By mid-summer construction was complete and comfortable, welcoming furnishings were selected. The center received its official name, the Abben Cancer Center, named in honor of Ben and Tena Abben, long-time friends and supporters of local healthcare.

 The success of the Abben Cancer Center is due to all the citizens of the region who first asked if this vital service could be provided locally, to those who worked to win state approval, the people who spread the message during the fund-raising effort, and the thousands who made generous gifts to see the center built and equipped. To all of you, thank you.