Blochs commit $5 million to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

March 15, 2012

Janis and Michael Bloch

This donation supports the development of a rooftop garden and executive suite at the new James Cancer Hospital. “Our donation will support some wonderful public spaces for patients and their families, as well as more private spaces for meetings,” said Janis. The spaces will be named in their honor. 

Longtime donors to Ohio State and recipients of Ohio State’s John B. Gerlach Outstanding Volunteer Award, the Blochs’ relationship with the university has grown over the years into a joyful partnership and a celebration of life, hope, and progress in the fight against cancer. “Both of my parents died of cancer,” said Janis. “My family and I knew after the loss of our parents that we were going to try to make a difference, and started fundraising right then, even before the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital was built.”

In 1982, Janis and her siblings started fundraising with a golf tournament in memory of their father, Herbert J. Block.  To date, the tournament has provided more than $4.1 million to Ohio State’s cancer program, supporting research and patient education, and since 2009, supporting the construction of the new James Cancer Hospital, part of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s expansion project. In 1992, the Block family established a lectureship in memory of their parents Herbert and Maxine Block, to acknowledge excellence in the field of oncology.

Janis and her husband, Michael, founder of Michael’s Finer Meats and Seafoods, were not yet married when the tournament began, but according to Janis, Michael hopped right on board with the family effort.

 “I have been very fortunate in my life and want to do some good and help stamp out cancer. It’s important to give back,” said Michael, who describes his experiences with the doctors at The James as inspiring. “I am constantly impressed with what they do, and also with what Janis has done for The James through the years.”

Up on the Roof--a fundraising event Janis helped implement--is now in its 19th year and has raised more than $6 million in support of Ohio State cancer research, and since 2009, for the construction of the new James Cancer Hospital, part of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s expansion project. Janis and Michael continue to serve as Up on the Roof event chairs.

The Blochs have developed many long-term relationships with Ohio State cancer experts through the years, but they cite their partnership with Dr. David Schuller, vice president of The Ohio State University Medical Center Expansion and Outreach, CEO emeritus of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and director emeritus of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, as one of the most inspirational.

“We are very passionate about The James and owe a lot to Dave Schuller for mentoring us in many ways through the years,” said Janis. “He has become a true friend to us, and we are exceptionally proud to be part of the operation that he has built.”

Schuller said the Blochs have provided “invaluable leadership.”

“Our cancer program would be a mere shadow of its current stature without the tremendous philanthropic support we have received from Janis and Michael over the past 20 years,” said Schuller. “They have been extraordinary role models and committed supporters, have provided thousands of hours of volunteer service, and now, have had the courage to step up with this transformational commitment. They are the ultimate ambassadors for The James.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 40 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.