Executive Director Message

StuartKlein.pngIn spite of Hurricane Matthew grazing the Jacksonville coast Friday, Oct. 7, we endured. Many patients and staff evacuated their homes and dozens of adults and children sheltered at our facility. Thankfully, the storm was far enough offshore to keep the strongest winds from reaching us. Flooding was not an issue at the Institute, but areas at the beach, including St. Augustine, experienced storm surge. We were back to business-as-usual on Monday, Oct. 10. Several patients completed their course of treatment that day and rang the chime. To all who went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our patients’ needs were met with as little disruption as possible, thank you.

Stuart L. Klein

Survivor Spotlight: Tynette Cherry

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

When Tynette Cherry was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 she knew she was in good hands. From an early age she had annual mammograms and checkups with her doctor because of a family history of breast cancer. As soon as the diagnosis was made, her UF Health primary care physician assembled a team of physicians at the academic health center. The surgeon, oncologist and radiation oncologist worked out a treatment plan for her that included chemotherapy to shrink the orange-sized tumor, surgery to remove most of the mass that was attached to her chest wall, and radiation, including proton therapy, to destroy the remaining tumor. Nearly four years later, Tynette is cancer-free and says that proton therapy saved her life. “I don’t feel that I would still be here without it, and I’m so very appreciative,” she said.

Hear more of Tynette’s story in this video.

Amy Sapp – Unsung hero of pediatric proton therapy

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

AmySapp1_0.jpgPediatric cancer patients have been a top priority at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute since the very beginning. In fact, one of the first people hired in 2006 was the Director of Pediatric Nursing Amy Sapp, a nurse who has dedicated her career to caring for the most vulnerable children. She has helped thousands of people in her career – from babies born prematurely to children at the end of life – and as the primary pediatric nurse at the Institute she has cared for more than 800 children with cancer.

One of the most significant milestones reached in the first decade of the Institute is growing the pediatric proton therapy program into the largest worldwide. On average, 25 children are treated daily. Amy credits the phenomenal nursing staff, physicians, radiation therapists, social workers and all the staff for this success. Daniel J. Indelicato, M.D., Director of the Pediatric Program, credits Amy. “I do not know anyone who works harder than Amy. Her effort and hard work are the primary reason for the success of the UF program,” he said. “She is the irreplaceable glue that holds our program together.”

Dr. Danny describes her as an inspiring leader who is smart, organized, professional and devoted to her patients. “I would say for the past 10 years, Amy has never taken an hour off work. By that I mean, even during the weekend, vacation, or evening, she will take responsibility for critical issues that arise. She does this because she cares immensely about her patients.”

As the pediatric program grew and eventually became the primary proton therapy provider to patients from the United Kingdom, Amy realized quickly that changes were needed to handle the highly complex cases. She streamlined the patient intake process, placing the pediatric nurse as the first and main point of contact for families. Parents rely on the nurse to manage all aspects of the referral, approvals, medical records and care. Amy acknowledged it is more work for the nurses, but it is worth it for the benefit to families. “I didn’t want parents to have that burden. It makes coming for treatment easier for families because they already have a relationship with their nurse case manager,” she said. “What would you want if it were you?”

Dr. Danny agrees that Amy’s leadership in merging the intake and nursing roles has been a game-changer for the pediatric program and one of many of her contributions to the success of the program. Putting patients first is fundamental. “Her most important overall contribution is represented in the meaningful connections she makes with our patients and families,” he said. 

The relationships with patients and families are the best part of the job, said Amy. She finds it especially rewarding when patients come back for not a follow up visit but just to visit. The patients also form lasting friendships with each other and many stay in touch, take vacations together and spend holidays together. Amy said, “Playing a small part in that is rewarding.”

Golf Tournament Fundraiser Rescheduled

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The 12th Annual Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® Classic has been rescheduled to Monday, November 14, 2016. The event was postponed from its original October date due to Hurricane Matthew. The tournament will take place at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., on both signature courses – The King & The Bear and The Slammer & Squire. For more information, visit playgolffightcancer.org or call Judy Holland at (904) 588-1401.

10th Anniversary Health Fair November 17

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Mark your calendar to attend the next in our series of health fairs. Join us November 17, 2016, from noon to 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on the Jacksonville Riverfront. Admission is free and includes food, games and prizes, massages, health screenings and information on living a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

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.  We will make every effort to remove your name from the list. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor, please click here.

 

Keep In Touch

It is easy to stay in touch with us online at floridaproton.org . Look at the top right corner of the homepage for Facebook , Twitter and YouTube icons, click and join us in the social media conversation. Also on the right side of the homepage there is a button for VTOC Patient Portal . Click here to open your secure account, view your records, complete clinical trial questionnaires and communicate with your nurse case manager.

 

Knowing how you are feeling during and after treatment is essential to providing you the best care possible and contributes to the care of future patients.