TGH Cancer Institute Receives $2 Million Gift to Establish Sarcoma Center at Tampa General Hospital | Tampa General Hospital

TGH Cancer Institute Receives $2 Million Gift to Establish Sarcoma Center at Tampa General Hospital

Published: Jan 3, 2024

Innovative, multidisciplinary cancer hub provides accessible, world-class care to all patients with sarcomas and other musculoskeletal cancers.

Tampa, FL (Jan. 3, 2024) – Tampa General Hospital (TGH) has received a $2 million gift to establish the TGH Cancer Institute Sarcoma Center. The new center is committed to the diagnosis, treatment and research of sarcoma, a cancer of the bone and connective tissue.

The generous donation made by Pathmanath “Phil” Desilva will enable the academic health system to develop a center focused solely on the treatment and care of all subtypes of sarcoma. Desilva was inspired by the vision and innovative work being done at the TGH Cancer Institute, particularly by Dr. Victoria Rizk, a medical oncologist and clinical director of the Sarcoma Center. She has been leading the development of the Sarcoma Center.

Known as a highly thoughtful and kind person with an ability to connect with people from all walks of life, Desilva was a businessman and CEO of Yzer, a logistics service leader with facilities extending across the United States. His favorite phrase, “We’ll make it happen,” fueled his never-ending passion for helping make those around him successful. Unfortunately, he passed away on Sept. 5, 2023, but with the knowledge that his gift would directly impact the lives of thousands affected by this rare and aggressive cancer. The TGH Cancer Institute will continue his legacy and work tirelessly to help patients suffering from this disease.

“Since our inception in 2021, the TGH Cancer Institute has made major strides in filling the gaps in cancer care and research across Tampa and beyond,” said Dr. Eduardo M. Sotomayor, vice president and executive director of the TGH Cancer Institute. “This remarkable gift empowers us to grow the Sarcoma Center of Excellence and help more patients, particularly the underserved populations who, before this, struggled to receive care in the region.”

Under Rizk’s leadership, the center will offer innovative research studies as well as the latest treatment advances and fund a growing comprehensive multidisciplinary clinic to include nurse navigation, genetic testing, social work services, psychology support and nutrition guidance. This directive shares the same goal of supporting sarcoma patients during their care. Throughout her academic career, Rizk has striven to advance sarcoma research with multiple peer-reviewed publications. Prior to joining Tampa General, she worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

“It’s rare to meet someone that lifts all those around them even on their darkest days. Phil was one of those people. He made sure every person on the team felt seen and appreciated. In one of our many conversations, he described being homeless at one point in his life and remembering how much it meant to him to be valued by those around him. This generous donation will support our vision to provide world-class sarcoma care to our community. In addition to the extraordinary patient-focused approach that our multidisciplinary sarcoma team provides, we will continue to  help our patients through innovation and research,” Rizk said. “We are beyond grateful for Mr. Desilva’s support of our program and his legacy will live on through the work we do each day.” 

“We are so grateful for Mr. Desilva’s enthusiastic support of the Sarcoma Program. His gift will have a tremendous impact on the lives of those affected by sarcoma,” said Frann M. Leppla, senior VP and chief philanthropy officer of the TGH Foundation. “He had so much compassion for patients and their families experiencing sarcoma as well as appreciation for the TGH team members who take such great care of our patients. His legacy will have a lasting impact,” Leppla said.

About Sarcoma and the Sarcoma Center

Sarcoma is a type of cancer that begins in bone or soft tissues, including cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, fibrous tissue or other connective or supportive tissue. The Sarcoma Foundation of America states that sarcoma accounts for 1% of adult cancers and 15-20% of childhood cancers and estimated that at any given time, 50,000 patients and their families are dealing with sarcoma.

The Sarcoma Center takes a multidisciplinary team approach to providing comprehensive care to patients at Tampa General. “Each week, our team meets to create personalized treatment plans for patients,” said Dr. Abraham Schwarzberg, executive vice president, chief of Oncology and president of the Tampa General Provider Network (TGPN). “Through this gift, we can collaborate in real-time to avoid delays and provide all patients with the best care, while also measuring our outcomes on a national level.”

For more information about the TGH Cancer Institute,