Mort Harris donates $20 million to Henry Ford Health System for new cancer building project

Henry Ford Health System
Posted at 8:59 AM, Dec 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-05 16:46:50-05

Detroit businessman and philanthropist Mort Harris has donated $20 million to Henry Ford Health System to help cancer research at the facility. The gift is the largest in Henry Ford's 100-year history and is in honor of his late wife, Brigitte Harris.

It's all part of a #40 million package from Harris that will support Henry Ford's new Detroit cancer building project, which will have three specific program areas: pancreatic cancer, brain cancer and precision medicine.

"Brigitte and I had a real love affair from the moment I met her until her last day,” Harris said in a release. "I was Brigitte’s caregiver for 21 months while she was sick. This was an intimate position to observe the suffering this awful disease caused her, and felt the pain that pancreatic cancer causes its victims and their families. I don't want any other families to have to go through that. I have to do this for her and for them."

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014, Brigitte received care at Henry Ford. His gift will also support Henry Ford's commitment to match donations to precision medicine, up to $25 million.

"Mort and Brigitte Harris have been a very special and important couple to Henry Ford Health System with a 30 year history of leadership and generous support," Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlitcting said in a release. "It is truly an honor to name our new cancer building in Brigitte's memory. Her indomitable spirit and interest in others, even during her difficult illness, will inspire our Henry Ford Cancer Institute team members to significantly transform and advance the care of cancer patients and their families."