The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation has given $15 million to Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica to name the Cancer Clinics in Saint John’s new Keck Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

“My doctors at Saint John’s taught me that cancer is a chronic illness, not a death sentence,” said Margie Petersen, who is a longtime survivor of breast cancer. “We feel our gift can help advance the research and treatment Saint John’s and John Wayne Cancer Institute are doing to help thousands of patients suffering from many forms of this disease. It is a happy coincidence that John Wayne and Mr. Petersen were close friends for many years.”

Robert E. Petersen was the founder of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines.

“This generous gift is a tribute to the Petersens’ love of life and concern for the well-being of the community,” said Dr. Armando Giuliano, the chief of science and medicine, and director of the John Wayne Cancer Institute Breast Center. “They serve as role models to every patient who faces cancer. We appreciate their partnership as we move into a new era of cancer research and treatment.”

Scheduled to open next year, the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation Cancer Clinics will be the clinical home of the Radiation Oncology Center, the Breast Center and the Cancer Clinic.

As part of this joint initiative of Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute, funds also will be dedicated to enhancing the internationally recognized breast cancer research program of the John Wayne Cancer Institute, directed by Giuliano, who treated Margie Petersen.

The Cancer Clinic is the latest in a long legacy of major charities founded or supported by the Petersens. They are the founding benefactors of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, a 300,000-square-foot facility that was made possible by their $40 million dollar gift.

The Petersen Automotive Museum makes the facility available to charities, especially through its children’s educational programs.

The Petersens have been long time supporters of Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute and were founding members of the Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

The Petersens also donated the building that houses the Boys & Girls Club in Hollywood

“This monumental gift will be the cornerstone of our cancer transnational research and clinical programs,” said Lou Lazatin, president and chief executive officer of Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Institute. “The Petersens’ legacy enables us to advance our vision of accelerating the delivery of breakthrough treatments and hope to patients.”

Along with The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation Cancer Clinics, the 275,000-square-foot, four-story Howard Keck Diagnostic and Treatment Center will house Southern California’s newest emergency department, state-of-the-art operating rooms and cathodor labs and an advanced imaging center that includes a 64-slice computed tomography machine and a new 3.0 Tesla magnetic imaging machine, according to a hospital spokesman.

The Petersens’ gift supplements a $35-million gift from Michele Chan and Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and chief executive officer of Abraxis BioScience.

“I am particularly touched by the generosity and genius of Dr. Soon-Shiong and his wife Michele Chan,” said Margie Petersen. “The cancer drug Abraxene that he created is a gift from God that greatly helped me survive cancer for more than 18 years.

“This new facility will no doubt touch the lives of thousands more patients.”