PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

$600K Donation Celebrates a Life, Inspires Cancer Center Campaign

Posted on Nov 23, 2011

Rendering of new PAMF Sunnyvale Center being built at Old San Francisco Road.

A life defined by “conscience, compassion and competence” has been honored in an extraordinary way.  Mike and Linda Markkula of Woodside, California, have donated $600,000 to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) in honor of their friend Fr. Paul L. Locatelli. Their gift is also a challenge gift to inspire others to donate toward the construction of PAMF’s new Cancer Center in  Sunnyvale, located at 301 Old San Francisco Road, and to name the entire center after Paul Locatelli, S.J.

While most people recognize Paul Locatelli, S.J. as the Jesuit priest who served as president of Santa Clara University for 20 years, not many people know that, for more than 30 years, Father Locatelli received his medical care from Bart Lally, M.D., one of PAMF’s internists and gastroenterologists.  It was Dr. Lally who was with Father Locatelli when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2010, and it was Dr. Lally who cared for Father Locatelli in his final days.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled to find a fittingly prominent opportunity to honor Fr. Locatelli,” said PAMF CEO Richard Slavin, M.D. “Paul was well-regarded for integrating Santa Clara University into the Silicon Valley ecosystem.  By extending his memory beyond university corridors, we hope that this PAMF naming opportunity will do the same for his legacy.”

The first contribution toward this ambitious goal was a $100,000 pledge from well-known community philanthropists, John and Sue Sobrato, who were long-time supporters of the late Locatelli. PAMF’s Philanthropy team is reaching out to other families and foundations, as well as patients, physicians and friends of the Locatellis to encourage gifts to be applied toward this rare challenge gift. Many have already come forth with generous, early gifts.

“The $600,000 gift from the Markkulas is significant both because of the largesse and the fact that it is a structured as a challenge gift,” said Jim Wilson, PAMF’s Campaign Cabinet Chairman and past president & COO of Syntex. “When we asked people what they want most in a cancer center, 95 percent said they prefer to receive their care in a community setting. They also want access to the most advanced diagnostics and treatment options available. We listened and this is the vision for the new cancer center in Sunnyvale.”

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has a goal of $12 million in philanthropic support to help build the new cancer center. Year-to-date, the not-for-profit organization has raised $7.4 million toward that $12 million.

For more than 80 years, private philanthropy has allowed PAMF to build its commitment as a community health resource, leading the way in patient care, biomedical research and education. As a not-for-profit organization, PAMF operates in a fundamentally different way from investor-owned health care systems. The Foundation has no shareholders or corporate officers and any revenue remaining after cost of care is covered is reinvested to enhance patient services through improved facilities and equipment, health education, medical research and funding community benefit programs.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s new Sunnyvale Center is currently under construction at 301 Old San Francisco Road. (Watch the progress on Live Webcam during daylight hours.) Updates on the project’s progress are posted on PAMF’s website.

The new Cancer Center will extend PAMF’s culture of caring by providing one of the most comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and patient support cancer care programs in the region. Given PAMF’s emphasis on personalized medicine and multispecialty care, patients at the new Sunnyvale Center will have a coordinated care-giving team comprised of their primary care physician, specialists, nurses, and support staff. Patients will also have access to more oncologists, double the number of current infusion stations, more advanced radiation technology, more specialized cancer care services, and dedicated nurse navigators who will guide patients through the entire, and often seemingly overwhelming, cancer care process with education, support and advocacy.

To learn more about the Locatelli naming opportunity and PAMF’s Cancer Center Campaign, please contact Campaign Manager Raya Elias-Petros at (650) 934-7362 or at