The Story Behind The Name

The Story Behind The Name

About 20 years ago Harold Shaw told his doctor and good friend Dr. Jack Eck that he was thinking of pulling away from Vail a second home he and his family had been deeply involved with since the late 1960s. The elevation had become an issue in his older years. But Vail had been so instrumental in the Shaws' lives — after all he was one of the original investors in the Ski Resort Lodge — they wanted to help the community even more than they already had.

In 1982 the Shaws' son Hal Jr. died in a car accident on Vail Pass. In honor of his son Harold donated funds to build a new wing onto the hospital which became the Patient Care Unit named for Hal Jr. Shaw also became a board member in the 1980s.

In his elder years Shaw continued to fly in on a monthly basis for hospital board meetings from his home in Dayton Ohio where he had years prior worked his way up to serving as the vice president of Monarch Marking Systems Company before he started investing in Vail real estate in the late '60s.

“My father had his priorities and it was primarily the Vail Valley and the hospital and then the cancer center” says his daughter Sally Veitch. “I think my brother's death put hospitals in the forefront.”  a few months of conversation Dr. Eck still loves telling the story of how the $18.5 million gift to fund Shaw Regional Cancer Center came about. When Shaw told Eck he was “interested in doing something more” for Vail and asked Eck's opinion the doctor told him about the rising number of cancer patients he was seeing in the Valley. As an internal medicine physician Eck began working with an oncologist who came to Vail from Denver first once a month then once a week as the need continued to grow.

“Dr. Eck treated many local citizens that did not want or could not leave home for cancer care” says Peggy Carey vice president of Shaw. Shaw asked Eck how much it would cost to treat cancer in the Valley. When Shaw returned the following month Eck had an answer: about $7 million. And Shaw said OK.

However the $7 million did not cover patients who needed radiation they still would have needed to travel to Denver. So the following month when Shaw returned he asked how much a full-service cancer center would cost. Eck researched it and came up with an accurate number the following month.

“About $18.5 million” Eck answered saying he actually stuttered because he could “barely get it out.” He had never asked for such a large sum.

“Let me talk to Mary Lou” Shaw replied referring to his wife.

“The next month he came back and said 'We'll do it'” Eck said. "I just about fell over."

THE SHAW LEGACY

Shaw Regional Cancer Center opened in 2001 about one year after Shaw passed away. However Shaw had walked the site many times and his wife an early-stage breast cancer survivor herself attended the ribbon cutting. Since its opening the cancer center has grown to include Jack's Place named after Eck which provides lodging for patients and their caregivers while receiving treatment at Shaw. The idea for Jack's Place stemmed from a doctor who found a patient from Routt County sleeping in his pickup truck between cancer treatments. Though Jack's is named after Eck he remains humble about his involvement in launching Shaw Regional Cancer Center.

“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time when a patient named Harold Shaw asked me how he could help” Eck says.

Like Jack's Place the cancer center was designed to provide whole person care. Comfortable waiting and treatment areas cascading waterfalls beautiful gardens and vistas of the Sawatch Mountain Range provide a comforting and healing environment. While the center remains cutting edge as evidenced by technology like the state-of-the-art Image Guided Linear Accelerator for radiation treatment and 3D Mammography it also places a premium on providing complementary care including support services fitness and nutrition counseling massage physical therapy and educational and enriching classes and experiences.

“It's really become the rallying point around here” Eck says. “There's very good evidence that people taken care of in pleasant environments have much better outcomes.”  

Patients benefit from a team of caregiving professionals including a pathologist radiologist genetic counselor and plastic surgeon as necessary. Each patient receives a personalized “whole care plan which is much more efficient” than treatment in larger urban areas which usually involves separate appointments with each specialist Eck says.

“Having the Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards means that mountain residents can receive treatment for cancer from the Shaw team of experts in this beautiful setting close to home” Carey says. “It also means people who have second homes here or don't want to have treatment in a large urban area have a choice.”

Community support and donations made Jack's Place possible but the Shaws also continue to support the cancer center. Veitch commutes from Colorado Springs to serve on the board of directors “and supports both the hospital and the cancer center with her wisdom and contributes generously financially” Carey says. A foundation set up by Shaw also helps offset the costs of Jack's Place and the cancer center.

“They've done such a fabulous job with it” Veitch says. “If God forbid I have to go through that I'm coming up there they have a great staff — very caring people that work there ... and the setting: It's a lovely place.”

The Valley is fortunate Shaw listened first to his good friends from Dayton Ohio who introduced him to Vail and again to Dr. Eck who identified the need for comprehensive cancer treatment in the Valley. Shaw began touching lives when he invested in Ski Resort Lodge but the family continues to be instrumental in saving lives through Shaw Regional Cancer Center.

ABOUT SHAW REGIONAL CANCER CENTER

Shaw Regional Cancer Center at Vail Valley Medical Center is for anyone seeking comprehensive cancer care in a peaceful and intimate setting. Patients travel to Shaw for its Ivy League doctors top-of-the-line equipment—including Image Guided Radiation Therapy and 3D mammography—and impeccable reputation for breast and prostate cancer treatment. The multidisciplinary approach of its cancer care team benefits each patient's individualized treatment plan supporting the patient and family through treatment all the way to survivorship. Shaw also offers Jack's Place a complimentary 12-room cancer caring lodge that allows patients and their caregiver to receive treatment at Shaw and take respite right next door.