Lettinga Inpatient Cancer Center Expands to Serve More BMT Patients

Adults in West Michigan have been able to receive blood and bone marrow transplants (BMT) at Spectrum Health for the past three years, sparing them a long commute and extended separations from responsibilities, family, and friends. Thanks to the expansion of the Lettinga Inpatient Cancer Center, the Spectrum Health Cancer Center will be able to accommodate even more BMT program patients.

A VIP Open House and ribbon cutting celebration happened in the Lettinga Cancer Center, located on the fifth floor of Butterworth Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids. Public tours of the expanded 18-bed unit followed.

The Lettinga Family

Two dozen members of the Lettinga family were in attendance. Presentations were given by Gwen Sandefur, chief operating officer, Spectrum Health Grand Rapids, Judy Smith, MD, Chief, Spectrum Health Cancer Center, Stephanie Williams, MD, medical director, Adult BMT, donors Wilbur and Sharon Lettinga and cancer survivor Victoria Upton.

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Victoria, the 6th transplant patient at Spectrum’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, celebrated her three-year-old “stem cell transplant birthday” in June.

The Lettinga’s are longtime donors to the Spectrum Health Foundation. The inpatient unit at Butterworth Hospital was first named in their honor in 1996.


Blood and marrow transplants are a treatment option for patients who have cancer, immune system disorders, metabolic disease and other life-threatening conditions. To date, more than 240 patients have received transplants at Spectrum Health.


“After a patient receives a blood or bone marrow transplant, it is necessary for them to remain isolated for several weeks in a pressure controlled room within a hospital,” explained Dr. Williams. “Through this expansion and the generosity of Wilbur and Sharon Lettinga, we will now be able to provide this level of care to even more patients.”

In addition to the pressure controlled rooms, the expansion includes an exercise room, space for physical therapy and hospitality areas for patient family members.


Spectrum Health’s adult BMT program received internationally-recognized accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) in 2014. Spectrum Health, which began offering adult transplant in February 2013, is the only adult BMT program in the western half of the state. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has been providing blood and marrow transplants to pediatric patients since 1998.


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