Matsui family donates $500K to Natividad Foundation

  • July 30, 2018
  • Monterey Herald

By James Herrera, Monterey Herald

Salinas >> The Natividad Foundation was given $500,000 by the Matsui family to bring an Infusion Center to Natividad. It’s the single largest donation from an individual or family in its 30-year history,

“The Matsui family’s generous donation allows our patients to receive local access to the care needed to treat their conditions,” said Jennifer Williams, Natividad Foundation’s president and CEO. “Their gift helps remove barriers – including lack of transportation, childcare, and family and friends who are close enough to accompany them to appointments. When access to care is easier and closer to home, patients are more likely to get the medical treatments they need to improve and save their lives.”

The donation will immediately fund updates to Natividad’s pharmacy to create a compounding room for infusion therapies, including chemotherapeutic agents and non-oncologic treatments. These medications are delivered as intravenous infusions and are used to treat cancer and chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and anemia. The donation also funds a four-room infusion center at the medical center that will allow infusion therapy to be delivered in a physician-supervised outpatient setting.

“We are creating an Infusion Center where we can give intravenous (IV) medications and blood products on an outpatient basis in a structured environment. Our goal is to create a continuum of care for Natividad’s patients by increasing access to comprehensive cancer treatment and infusion services for non-oncologic patients close to home,” said Hillary Fish, Natividad Foundation spokesperson.

According to Fish, not only will the donation pay for upgrades to the existing Natividad pharmacy, but also furniture and medical equipment for the four-room center, and the remainder of the donation will be used for continued expansion of cancer and infusion services at Natividad.

“We are already providing many of these services, but the Infusion Center is about creating a fresh, dedicated space for patients needing infusion services. We won’t be adding additional staff at this time. We will continue to evaluate volume and, if needed, we will add resources,” said the foundation spokesperson.

Fish said the Infusion Center will be housed in the existing D’Arrigo Family Specialty Services facility at Natividad and will open in mid-2019.

“Many of our employees and their families have received responsive, compassionate, quality care at Natividad,” said Teresa Matsui, president and CEO of Matsui Nursery. “Natividad is an institution that is accessed by a large portion of the community, and it deserves our support.”

The donation is made in honor of Matsui’s mother, Yasuko Matsui. Teresa Matsui, her sister and mother all are breast cancer survivors and positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. The gene produces tumor-suppressing proteins, which increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancers. The genes may be inherited from a mother or father, and a child of a parent that carries a mutation for the gene has a one in two chance of being affected. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and one in eight women will develop cancer in her lifetime.

“Under the best of circumstances, going through cancer treatment – whether surgery, radiation or chemotherapy – is a trying process,” Matsui said. “We were thrilled that our contribution could be used to facilitate the treatment process for cancer patients.”

The Salinas-based Matsui Nursery was founded more than 50 years ago and is one of the world’s largest potted orchid growers. The company employes 200 people in Monterey County.

“Through the sales of our orchids, we actively support organizations that serve and inspire people in the Salinas Valley and throughout Monterey County,” said Matsui. “We’ve been supporting education in a big way for many years. Equally important is the overall health of our community.”

The nonprofit Natividad Foundation provides philanthropic support for Natividad through partnerships with foundations, businesses and government agencies. Natividad is a Monterey County-owned and operated 172-bed hospital that provides health care services to even the most vulnerable throughout Monterey County.

Fish said the 1,100-square-foot, four-room center will be ready to move into by March 31, following upgrades to the Natividad pharmacy.

“Everyone needs to be able to get cancer screening tests, high-quality treatment for cancer and health care after cancer treatment,” said Dr. Gary Gray, Natividad CEO. “The Matsui family’s gift is important because it provides the seed funding to get a project started that otherwise would not have been possible.”

“Social issues are business issues and business people need to be social activists,” said Matsui. “People in our community are employees, they’re customers and they’re stakeholders. If we don’t have community, what does that mean for the future of our businesses?”

James Herrera can be reached at 831-726-4344.