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Vidant Health recipient of major gift from local family

March 08, 2018 posted by Beth Anne Atkins

GREENVILLE – “Because we believe in a life without cancer.”

These words have been echoed throughout eastern North Carolina during the last three years as everyone watched the new cancer center and bed tower rise out of the ground into the six-story building that now sits on the east side of the Vidant Medical Center Campus in Greenville.

To help Vidant Health fulfill this bold mission to keep people disease free and successfully treat those who are diagnosed with cancer, Eddie Smith Jr. and his wife of 55 years, Jo Allison, through their family foundation, have generously given the lead gift to fund the completion of the tower. Their contribution also assisted in bringing other major donors on board for the cancer center.

“This gift is in honor of the many friends, family members and associates who have already fought the fight against cancer, for those who are fighting and those whose fight is yet to come,” said Eddie Smith, owner and CEO of Grady-White boats. “We are so blessed to be able to give back to this community, this area, and its people who have been such a blessing to us during our lives.”

The Smiths moved to Greenville in 1968 to build a business and raise a family. They are grateful for the opportunities and friendships the community has provided during the last 50 years.

“We are so humbled and honored that Eddie and Jo Allison chose to support this project that is so vital to the people of eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO, Vidant Health. “We are inspired by a commitment to provide unsurpassed care close to home which is why we are creating a coordinated network of hospitals and physicians that will position the system as the region’s premier provider of cancer care.”

The Smiths share the Vidant Health vision to prevent cancer whenever possible, diagnose the disease in the earliest stages and ensure that every cancer patient receives world-class care while staying close to home.

The new 418,000-square-foot cancer center and bed tower is located adjacent to the existing East Carolina Heart Institute on the Greenville campus. The six-story, 96-bed facility is designed so all inpatient beds can provide cancer care at the tertiary level.  For now, this includes intermediate and general level medical and surgical care for inpatients, with the capability for intensive care in the future.  It also includes space for the following:

  • First floor – 140,000 square feet, including a lobby, outpatient cancer clinic, radiation oncology, infusion services, patient support, pharmacy, lab and administration office space.
  • Second floor – 48 inpatient beds and clinical support space
  • Third floor – mechanical, electrical and support space
  • Fourth floor – 48 inpatient beds and clinical support space
  • Fifth and sixth floors – space for possible future expansion and/or the replacement of existing hospital inpatient beds

Throughout the building, visitors will find special touches and features to help enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of care delivery and improve the patient experience. Patients, visitors and team members will be able to enjoy healing gardens and natural outside environments, as well as shop at a specialized boutique and Image Renewal Center designed to meet the needs of cancer patients. There will also be a resource room for patients and families to do research, in addition to conference space for cancer awareness and support programs.

The estimated cost of construction and equipping the cancer center and bed tower is $174 million. Approximately $50 million will be funded through philanthropy. 

The cancer center and bed tower is scheduled to open this month.

About The Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation

The Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation was formed in 1993, and supports health, education, environment, and many community organizations from the arts to human services. Eddie is the owner and CEO of Grady-White Boats, a local company that is also committed to community involvement. Both the company and the foundation support projects that have made a difference and improved the quality of life here in eastern North Carolina.

About Vidant Health

Vidant Health is a mission-driven, 1,447-bed health system that annually serves more than 1.4 million people in 29 eastern North Carolina counties. The not-for-profit system is made up of 12,000 employees, eight hospitals, home health, hospice, wellness centers, and Vidant Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician and provider group with more than 420 providers in more than 80 practice sites in eastern North Carolina. Vidant is affiliated with The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. As a major resource for health services and education, Vidant has a mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. For more information, visit

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