MEDFORD, Oregon — An Asante cardiologist and a former cancer patient climbed a massive construction crane together Friday at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center; a kind of reward for a bunch of thrill seekers and an event to spotlight the upcoming expansion of the hospital.
dr. Brian Gross is a cardiologist at Asante. During an online auction for the Oregon Wine Experience 2021, Dr. Gross a pack for two to climb the crane – a pack explicitly advertised as “not for the faint of heart.”
Painted bright red, equipped with LED lights, standing 205 feet above the ground and 353 feet from tip to tail (longer than a football field), with a maximum lift capacity of 55,115 pounds (enough to carry 300 doctors and nurse or five ambulances), stands the tower crane from Andersen Construction,” reads the package description.
The crane will be used to build Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center’s new medical pavilion, where the top two floors will be dedicated to women’s and children’s health.
When Dr. Gross heard that he had successfully purchased the package, he later contacted Cameron Caldwell to accompany him.
Caldwell was once a cancer patient in Asante. At age 17, while still in high school, he underwent limb rescue surgery and intense chemotherapy. In June 2019, he came out cancer-free.
“I thought of some of my friends and colleagues and nurses that I might want to take. I obviously offered it to my wife who immediately turned it down. I offered it to many of my partners who turned it down,” said Dr. gross. “Then I thought – this is an opportunity to really highlight what we’re doing, if we don’t climb mountains and cranes like this. And so I spoke to the Foundation, and I said, ‘Maybe we can have a kid who’s a graduate of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, wouldn’t that be a good one to have?'”
dr. Gross said the Foundation did him even better. They pointed him in the direction of Caldwell, who was part of the Children’s Miracle Network, beat cancer and is now a pre-medic.
“And I need someone strong enough to carry me upstairs if something happens!” said Dr. gross. “But my main job will be to convince him that he should do cardiology instead of oncology.”
Caldwell said he’s excited about the change of pace, as he’s been inundated with school and work lately, and wants to help the community of oncology patients he was once part of.
“Any chance to try and help kids who are going through a rough time,” Caldwell said. “I’d like to draw attention to what’s going on. And when I found out that the faucet was for the new pediatric ward in Asante, I thought ‘why not’ – what’s a small faucet compared to a pretty cool setup .”
On Friday, Caldwell and Dr. Gross successfully made the climb to the top of the crane, overlooking Medford and the future expansion of Asante’s campus.