Executive Director Message


StuartKlein.pngEven in tough circumstances, such as dealing with cancer, people have the remarkable capacity to adapt. We have a great team of professionals who help patients tap into their inner resilience. For those who move temporarily to Jacksonville for treatment, we provide practical advice such as where to find housing, grocery stores, pharmacies and even barber shops. To help patients ease their anxiety about treatment, we offer tours so they can see where treatment happens and understand what to expect. We have support groups and one-on-one counseling available so people can talk through their concerns and learn coping skills. And we have plenty of opportunities for people to mix and mingle and just forget about cancer for awhile. This aspect of our care is intentional to help make a positive difference in how patients experience proton therapy and in how they use their inner resources to adjust.


Stuart L. Klein

Executive Director

Survivor Spotlight - Leon Warshaw


UF Health Proton Therapy Prostate Cancer SurvivorOn June 19, 2015, Leon Warshaw was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer with a Gleason Score of 8. Facing an aggressive, fast-spreading cancer, Leon was determined to find the best treatment option available to him. He began researching treatment options and consulted several doctors, who knew little about proton therapy and all recommended the same thing: hormone therapy and radiation. Nervous about the side effects associated with standard treatments, he focused his research on proton therapy.

“What I read eased my anxiety somewhat, in that it seemed to offer the least amount of side effects but was equal in results to more traditional treatment methods,” said Leon.

It wasn’t long before Leon and his wife arranged a tour of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. They explored the facility, spoke with staff and had lunch with current patients, who were happy to share their experiences. The warm atmosphere and patient-centered care encouraged them to take the next step.

“There was an anxious waiting period to learn if I had been accepted for treatment,” said Leon. “When the call came, I felt as though I had just won the lottery.”

Six months later, Leon and his wife traveled from their home in Sarasota, Florida, to Jacksonville. With the help of the Patient Services team, they found a condo to rent in Jacksonville for the duration of his treatment. He has fond memories of attending events organized by the Institute for patients such as weekly luncheons and group outings, where he watched in awe as patients opened up, happy and smiling, seemingly forgetting for a moment that they were in a fight for their lives. These experiences helped Leon form a close bond with his fellow patients. They became, as he calls them, friends in the battle.

“I cannot stress enough how much these activities and weekly luncheon events meant to the mental and physical well-being of myself and all of the patients,” said Leon. “Other than the short treatments, it was like being on vacation.”

Leon, a retired retail executive and entrepreneur, is now a member of the Civilian Volunteer Police in Sarasota and recently received an award for lifesaving efforts.

Expansion Project Update


Construction is well underway for the new 10,000-sq.-ft., single-room proton therapy gantry and cyclotron. We are making excellent progress and anticipate the construction to be completed next year. The expansion will increase patient capacity by approximately 25 percent, allowing us to bring the benefits of proton therapy to more people.



Here are some fun facts about the construction:

  • The foundation will rest firmly on 67 concrete piles that are driven into the limestone bedrock several feet below ground.
  • The gantry will have room to rotate when installed, thanks to a 15-foot pit excavated on the construction site.
  • Materials used for construction include more than 172 tons (344,000 lbs.) of rebar and approximately 1,300 cubic yards of concrete – that’s over 130 truckloads of concrete.

We will continue to provide updates as the project moves forward. In the meantime, check out this time-lapse video, taken by the construction crew, of the development so far.

April – Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month

Dr. Roi Dagan is director of the head and neck program at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Watch this video to learn about cancers that occur in the head and neck and how proton therapy can provide excellent treatment while reducing the impact on surrounding healthy organs.


Paying it Forward


Alumni patient Leon Warshaw, present donation to UF Health Proton Therapy

Alumni patient Leon Warshaw, a prostate cancer survivor, recently presented UF Health Proton Therapy Institute’s For the Children Fund with a $1,000 gift to benefit pediatric cancer patients.

“The pediatric program is nothing short of a miracle for the young children being treated,” said Leon. “The pleasant and comforting personalities of the nurses, technicians and doctors are heartwarming and supportive.”

Leon’s generous gift was made possible by his service with the Sarasota Civilian Volunteer Police. Leon and his Civilian Volunteer Police partner, Demetri Lignos, received the Noah Williams Humanitarian Award for their lifesaving efforts after they discovered a homeless man who was sick and unable to move, lying in the sun alone and unattended for a week following a heart attack. In addition to the award, the Williams family presented Leon with a $1,000 check to be donated to the cause of his choice. He knew immediately that he wanted to use the opportunity to give back to UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.

“The staff at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute deserves the highest recognition for their professional and effective methods of protecting, treating and supporting young patients,” said Leon. “I hope that my small gift will help give the children joy and support their morale during their treatment period.”

The Institute’s For the Children Fund was created with the mission to provide children with the opportunity to enjoy life, despite their cancer diagnosis. Charitable gifts like Leon’s fund activities, like Family Fun Night, and support two artists-in-residence who guide patients as they create weekly art projects. They also help provide a Child Life Specialist, who uses medical play, preparation and education to promote understanding and help reduce anxiety in pediatric cancer patients.

For Leon, the impact these services had on pediatric patients and their families was undeniable.

“So much thought and care is given to the method of treatments to alleviate fear, pain and discomfort,” said Leon. “I was brought to tears as I observed these young people playing and enjoying their activities while undergoing major treatments. The children showed great strength and enjoyment in all of the attention and care they received.”

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.


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.