SALT LAKE CITY — The Majerus Family Foundation announced a $2 million gift Wednesday that will support the Huntsman Cancer Institute's new research center emphasizing children and families.

The foundation was established by University of Utah basketball coach Rick Majerus before he died in 2012.

The 220,000-square-foot facility will house new research activities into hundreds of forms of childhood and family cancers. The new addition will be named the Primary Children’s and Families’ Research Center in honor of one of the principal donors, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Construction is expected to begin in 2014, and the expansion has been estimated at $100 million. The center will give added emphasis to battling childhood cancers and supporting families who have seen generations of loved ones affected, as well as furthering existing research.

Jon M. Huntsman Sr., founder and principal benefactor of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, said the contribution from the Majerus family is the latest in a lifetime of support.

"Rick and I were like brothers," Huntsman said. "He was always a guiding light in building the cancer institute and never missed an opportunity to bring the University of Utah basketball team over to our research center or hospital to cheer on our patients and herald the progress we made. He was a great inspiration to the children and adults who were struggling mightily to overcome this dreaded disease."

— McKenzie Romero

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