Message from Stuart Klein, Executive Director


People, especially those who go above and beyond the expected, make the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute a special place. In this month’s newsletter, you will read about exceptional actions by remarkable individuals who put others before themselves and make the world a better place.

On behalf of all of us here at the institute, best wishes to you and your loved ones for a happy holiday season.


Stuart Klein

2015 Excellence Award Honoree: Jeff Rexford


The first ever UF Health Proton Therapy Institute Award for Excellence was presented to Jeff Rexford, IBA Site Manager, during a ceremony last month. IBA is the manufacturer of the proton therapy system and Jeff leads its staff of on-site engineers who operate and maintain the system. Beginning in 2006 when Jeff was named site manager, and throughout his tenure, he has demonstrated a commitment to excellence that goes above and beyond the call of duty. 

Jeff is the most knowledgeable in-house expert on what is widely considered within the health care industry the most complex piece of medical equipment in use today. He is the reason that the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute system has the best performance of all IBA systems. When issues arise, Jeff and his team are unstoppable in resolving the issue, often developing creative solutions that are unconventional, but effective. The system performance and reliability makes it possible for the facility to treat, on average, 100 patients each weekday, from 6:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. 

“I am privileged and honored to know him as a friend and I truly admire his many contributions to UFHPTI’s past and future success,” said Stuart Klein, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute Executive Director, in remarks made during the award ceremony.

The award was established to show appreciation for an individual’s exemplary service and to inspire others within the proton family to the same level of excellence. The honoree is someone who has made a significant contribution to the culture of excellence and patient care at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Anyone within the proton family, for example, employees, vendors, volunteers, or philanthropists, is eligible for consideration for the award. The individual who receives the award demonstrates the hallmarks of excellence: expertise, consistency, innovation, leadership and generosity.

Zane Beadles is a Walter Payton Man of the Year Finalist

ZaneandStuart.JPGYou can help our friend, Jacksonville Jaguars player Zane Beadles, win the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. All you have to do is use the hashtag #BeadlesWPMOYChallenge in your social media posts now through December 31. The NFL player with the most hashtag mentions will win a donation to fund his charitable activities.

Zane is a generous philanthropist who has taken a special interest in helping the children being treated at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute and their families. He has a charitable organization, the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation, that focuses on supporting the journey of young people going through life-changing medical experiences.

Fun and Fellowship

Over the past few years he has hosted multiple family fun night activities including the most recent holiday party on December 10. Children and parents were treated to “breakfast for dinner” with pancakes, bacon and other delicious goodies on the menu. Then everyone was invited to decorate a gingerbread house using icing, candy and their imaginations. Zane along with his teammate AJ Caan and members of the Jaguars cheerleading squad The Roar visited with the children, signed autographs and posed for photos. 

For 11-year-old Max Adams, a patient from the United Kingdom and Jaguars fan, it was a thrill to meet the players. He started following the Jaguars when they played in London and attended the game there this season. He has also watched a few games at Everbank Field while he’s here on treatment.

Max said that the holiday party was a great way for all the pediatric families, especially those far from home, to get together for fun and fellowship. 


Patient Spotlight: Wendy Anthony

IMG_1279.JPG“I like to tell my story,” said 12-year-old Wendy Anthony as she described how she made friends with other cancer patients at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. “I introduce myself and ask if they would like to go to the art table,” she explained.  She got to know the other patients by sharing her story with them about being treated for a rare brain tumor called craniopharyngioma, “I tell them I had surgery. Surgery. Treatment.” And she asked them about their cancer story. 

Because of her positive and friendly attitude, she touched the hearts and minds of other cancer patients on treatment and befriended many of them -- men, women and children. She decided to congratulate her friends when they “graduated” from treatment and made a personalized poster complete with drawings, pictures and words of encouragement. “We’d like to do it for everyone,” said her father David Anthony. “With so many graduates, it’s hard to do them all. We are making them for people who have touched our lives while we’ve been here.”

It started with a warm and welcoming greeting by a prostate cancer patient they met at the gym at Third and Main, the nearby apartment complex that houses many of the proton therapy patients. “He was the first person who greeted us, who told us what a great place we were in and made us feel comfortable,” said David. As they met more patients, the circle of friends grew. “We met a lot of inspiring people, but Wendy’s been the biggest inspiration to me,” said David. He said that all the prostate guys were super generous and kind to Wendy. She helped them deal with their cancer diagnosis by seeing how bravely she handled hers. 

“It’s just a great atmosphere that allows the best of people to come out,” said David describing the proton therapy institute. “I attribute that to UFHPTI. All the staff members are so positive it’s infectious.”

Wendy offered some advice for people to make their proton treatments go better, “I just go with the flow and do what the doctors say you have to do.” She said by concentrating on that, you don’t have to worry.

UF Health Proton Therapy Institute receives International Award


JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development arm of the JAX Chamber, during its quarterly luncheon on December 16 presented a 2015 International Award to UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. 

Each year since 2007 JAXUSA honors companies and individuals that contribute to Northeast Florida’s international growth. “As international barriers continue to be broken it is important to position Northeast Florida as a prime place to expand or relocate international business,” said Jerry Mallot, JAXUSA President. “These awards help us recognize those companies and individuals who have already seen why this region is an outstanding location for their business operations.”

A selection committee comprised of the JAXUSA President, International Senior Director, JAXPORT’s Chief Commercial Officer and a representative from the international and/or logistics community review eligible nominees and determine the award winners. Past winners include Novabone (2007), COACH (2011), Stellar (2007 & 2014) and Jaguars President Mark Lamping (2013). The selection of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute marks the first time a health care provider has received the International Award.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Stuart Klein, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute Executive Director. “Proton therapy is often the only treatment option for many kinds of tumors, especially those located in or near critical organs like the brain, heart or lungs. Our ability to provide treatment to patients from around the globe is possible thanks to our expert professional medical team and to our community partners.”

Since opening in 2006, the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute has treated more than 6,000 cancer patients, who are from the local community, 49 states and 30 countries. The Institute has agreements in place with Norway, Quebec and the United Kingdom to treat cancer patients who need proton therapy. Additional international patient growth is expected from China following a proton therapy symposium in June 2015 hosted jointly with the leading radiation oncology association in China. Over the last five years, the pediatric proton program has grown to the largest in the world with more than 25 children on treatment each day. Since opening, the facility has treated more than 1,000 children.

UF Health Proton Therapy Institute is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit, academic health facility. The facility is active in the economic development and medical tourism efforts in the City of Jacksonville. It hosts educational tours of the facility for small groups including medical professionals, business groups, government officials, international visitors and others. Facility tours are open to patients, caregivers and the general public twice weekly. It supports nonprofits such as the Ronald McDonald House, the American Cancer Society, Wolfson Children's Hospital, the American Lung Association, the Free to Breathe Association, and the 26.2 with Donna. Employees and patients often participate in community runs and events such as the Riverside Arts 5K, the Gate River Run, the Corporate Run, and more.

This year UF Health Proton Therapy Institute was named one of four Florida Cancer Centers of Excellence – the first year of the state-designated award – and it earned the American College of Radiology accreditation seal – one of three proton therapy facilities in the country with this distinction.


Santa Claus makes a special delivery

IMG_5062.jpgJoy was in the air on December 17 at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute as Santa Claus made a surprise visit. He delivered a bundle of toys to 70 children – cancer patients and their siblings. Many have temporarily relocated to Jacksonville for the three-month treatment, some from as far away as the United Kingdom. Proton therapy staff dressed as elves helped distribute the gifts. Joe McGee, prostate cancer survivor and proton alum from the Atlanta area, made Santa come to life.


About This Newsletter

The Precision Newsletter is an electronic-only publication that is distributed by email. Each issue is sent monthly to patients, alumni patients and friends of the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. As the official newsletter of the Institute, the content is compiled and prepared by our communications representative and approved by the editor Stuart Klein, executive director of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Special bulletin newsletters may occasionally be prepared when timely topics and new developments in proton therapy occur. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor, please click here.


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