It's not everyday a check for $500,000 is handed to you.

But that's what happened to Pocono Health System recently.

Philip Hosbach, vice president of Immunization Policy of Sanofi Pasteur of Swiftwater, handed this sizable gift to William B. Cramer, Esq., chairman of the new Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center's capital campaign.

Hosbach addressed the packed Brodhead and Stroud conference room at the Pocono Medical Center (PMC) in East Stroudsburg, saying "We are very proud to work with you."

The gift is earmarked for construction of the new $39 million dollar Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center, which is scheduled to open this summer. To date, Sanofi has donated over $1 million dollars to the project.

"Sanofi Pasteur is driven by saving lives and making lives better. Immunization has eradicated small pox and almost polio. Thankfully cancer seems to be heading in that same direction. The Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center and Sanofi want to see that people in Monroe County have access to the best medical care for cancer that is available. Today, we are saving lives together," said Hosbach.

Cramer accepted the gift and expressed his appreciation.

"Thank you Sanofi. Not everyone can give $500,000 so we appreciate this gift," said Cramer, adding that it is what will go on inside the new building – the giving of hope, a gift of hope – that's important.

Cramer is also a dedicated philanthropist, a 2008 Fundraising Professional of the Year recipient, and has endowed many scholarships to five schools and universities. He believes when you are blessed, you need to give back to help others and hopefully they will "pay it forward" too. He also believes that if you have a worthy cause, people will give, even in tough economic times.

He believes the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center is a worthy cause.

The current Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center is an 8,000-square-foot building located at 231 East Brown St. in East Stroudsburg. The new 59,000-square-foot building is directly across the street from PMC, 206 East Brown Street, and connected by a glass-enclosed bridge that runs over East Brown Street, making it much more accessible.

"We are extremely grateful to have received this generous donation from Sanofi Pasteur for the new Hughes Cancer Center, a project vitally important to our community as cancer rates grow 4 percent each year in Monroe County," said Kathleen E. Kuck, president and CEO of Pocono Health System/Pocono Medical Center.

To give voice to just how the cancer center has impacted lives in Monroe County, Kuck introduced Kelli Mercurio.

"When my father was going through cancer treatments for lung cancer, I brought along my two sons and we were all treated wonderfully by everyone at the cancer center. Little did I know it would be a dress rehearsal for my own treatment of breast cancer," she said.

Diagnosed last year at age 41, Mercurio underwent a lumpectomy, two additional surgeries and 33 radiation treatments. She said she was grateful for the compassion and caring they received.

"To be able to go to a cancer center so close to home has meant everything to me," Mercuiro said.

"The new, state-of-the-art center allows us to bring our world-class technology, protocols, physicians and staff under one roof, close to home for our patients," said Kuck.

The design of the new Hughes Cancer Center is meant to offer a healing environment, contributing to the health, well-being and optimism of local cancer patients and their families. The center, complemented by an expansion of PMC oncology service staff, will meet a critical need in the region, as cancer has now become the leading cause of death in Monroe County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health 2011 County Health Profile.

"I would like to thank the entire Sanofi Pasteur team for their kind support of this project and remind them how the lives of tomorrow's cancer patients and their families will be significantly impacted in a positive way because of Sanofi Pasteur's efforts in making the new Hughes Cancer Center a reality," said Kuck.

Sanofi is a global and diversified health care leader that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi's platform includes diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer health care, emerging markets and animal health. Its home base is in Paris, France.

"Sanofi Pasteur is honored to partner with and contribute to Pocono Health System's new Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center," said Hosbach. "As a member of the system's board of directors, I have seen firsthand the important and admirable accomplishments of this organization, and in particular, how their life-saving work aligns with our goals and interests at Sanofi Pasteur. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts toward a healthier Monroe County and a strengthened Pennsylvania."

"We still have $4.5 million to raise but I'm confident we'll achieve that goal. If anyone would like to make a contribution, please call me," said Cramer.

More company information is available at the Sanofi Pasteur Community Relations website: [1].

Contributions can be made to the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center, in care of Pocono Health Foundation, 175 E. Brown St., Suite 113, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.