HARRISON, N.Y. -- For decades, Westchester Avenue was dubbed the "Platinum Mile." In recent years, with more health care providers resurrecting vacant offices near interstates 684 and 287, it's been renamed the "Medical Mile."
Wednesday's announcement that Memorial Sloan Ketttering Cancer Center has partnered with the Mount Kisco Medical Group and will open a new patient care facility Monday, Oct. 6, at 500 Westchester Ave., was welcomed by hundreds of health care providers, patients and public officials during morning and evening events Wednesday.
"It's dizzying,'' said Dr. Thomas Lester, chief medical officer for MKMG, which opened in a small house in Mount Kisco in 1946 and now has more than 300 physicians. "There are unbelievable things going on."
Manhattan-based Memorial Sloan Kettering, founded as the New York Cancer Hospital in 1884, opened a facility in Sleepy Hollow in 1995 and has facilities in New Jersey and Long Island.
"West Harrison is going to be transformational,'' said MSK Cancer Center President Craig Thompson. "It's about providing care where people live and not have their lives disrupted."
Stacy Sager, a broadcast journalist from Nassau County, credited cancer doctors with saving her life twice: from breast cancer when she was 30 and more recently from ovarian cancer. "Just two days ago I celebrated my 47th birthday,'' Sager said, noting that her mother died of breast cancer at age 44.
Harrison Supervisor Ron Belmont said he welcomes the world-class care provided locally by 35 full-time doctors and more than 100 support staff. "Your vision for Westchester Avenue is the same as ours,'' Belmont said. "Nothing but the best of the best."
"We are blessed to have a great many high-quality health care providers in Westchester,'' said Assemblyman David Buchwald.
Kelley Hebert, a patient from Westchester who works in Connecticut, said she and friends or family members often had to block out seven hours for each trip she had to take to Manhattan for cancer treatments.
Hebert was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and said she looks forward to follow-up care closer to home. "I have my first visit here in November,'' she said. "May you all have a hopeful journey today and every day."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.