To commemorate the opening of the Imbert Cancer Center’s new Radiation Medicine Center, more than 80 cancer survivors, physicians, caregivers and family members recently gathered to write messages of hope and healing on the treatment area’s unfinished concrete walls as a reminder for all those who would one day receive care at the center.
Using colored markers, attendees wrote heartfelt messages to all who have been touched by cancer. The thoughts, prayers, quotes and drawings reflect a wide range of emotions as each cancer patient’s journey is unique.
William Martin, 69, a prostate cancer survivor who received 45 days of radiation therapy about six years ago at Southside Hospital, attended the special Saturday program, “Foundations of Strength.” The North Babylon, NY, resident said: “As a survivor I have a lot to be grateful for.” Mr. Martin, married for 46 years with eight grandchildren, is a retired New York Police Department sergeant who shared that both of his brothers died of cancer. “I can put myself in the shoes of patients going through radiation treatment and I want people to see what is possible in the future.”
Borrowing, in part, from the 1973 New York Mets’ catchphrase, Mr. Martin inscribed, “You Gotta Believe…Body, Mind and Spirit.” The Mets rallied to win the National League East title that season and advance to the World Series. Other inspirational words written on the wall included: “It will get better, stay strong,” from a former patient. A family member’s 7-year old granddaughter added three simple words inside a heart drawing: “Believe, Love, Madison.”
“The community event was emotional and validating; it allowed former patients, caregivers and staff members to express gratitude as well as pass on more permanent words of inspiration to future cancer patients,” said John Ames, MD, the center’s director of radiation medicine. All patients receiving radiation therapy at the Imbert Cancer Center will see the hopeful messages in the unfinished space reserved for the second linear accelerator, in anticipation of the program growing.
The Imbert Cancer Center, part of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, emphasizes that patients heal best when they are treated close to home, surrounded by the support of loved ones. Dr. Ames added, “Not only do we provide the best clinical treatment in cancer services, but the Imbert Cancer Center holistically cares for patients in various aspects such as promoting a healthy lifestyle and addressing psychological and spiritual needs.”
The Imbert Cancer Center offers integrated and coordinated cancer care services so patients can access top-notch care in their own community. Anchoring Northwell Health’s cancer services in Suffolk County, the new center gives cancer patients access to renowned physicians in surgery, medical oncology, radiation medicine, interventional radiology and diagnostic imaging under one roof.