Press Release: McLaren Opens $8 Million Hospitality House for Cancer Patients

July 17, 2013 – Flint, MI –  One year to the day after groundbreaking ceremonies, McLaren Flint celebrated the opening of its $8 million Hospitality House at McLaren. A ribbon cutting ceremony, tours of the facility, a building dedication and video presentation highlighted the formal program today at the site of the new three-story, 43,000 sq. ft. structure.
Located at 3170 Beecher Road on the extended campus of McLaren Flint, the Hospitality House is a unique service in the Genesee County area, providing a “home away from home” for patients and family members undergoing services through McLaren Flint. It is especially designed to provide a convenient, comfortable and low cost housing option for patients undergoing highly specialized treatment for cancer at the new $70 million McLaren Proton Therapy Center, slated to open later this year.
A community fundraising campaign to support the development of the Hospitality House was launched in late January of 2012, and more than $5.9 million has been raised to date with donations continuing to be received for the project.
The mission of McLaren’s Hospitality House is to create a healing, caring and comfortable environment for patients and their caregivers, providing activities and facilities to help occupy and enrich the time between cancer treatments or other health care services.
The Hospitality House features 32 guest rooms (some suites for families), a large gathering room, a non-denominational reflection room, food preparation areas featuring fully-equipped kitchens, a dining room, library, exercise facility, laundry room, playroom, multi-use room for specialized therapies such as art therapy and massage, conference space for educational programs and entertainment, patio, outdoor walking trail and an RV park. The Flint-based firm of Sorensen Gross is the general contractor for the McLaren Hospitality House, and the architect is Design Plus.
McLaren has drawn upon a wealth of resources in developing the Hospitality House concept, including the expertise of university-based hospitality programs. This has led to a unique collaboration with the Hospitality Services Administration Program at Central Michigan University, which is providing student interns to help manage the Hospitality House operations and services.
Under the supervision of Hospitality House Director Teresa Williams, the first two student managers from Central Michigan University, Garrett Holmes and Kelsey Baptist, have spent the spring and summer working to support the Hospitality House opening and operations.
Cancer patients who have utilized the services of hospitality houses in other states have also provided valuable input about the advantages of the Hospitality House concept over traditional “motel” living.
Prostate Cancer Survivor Ben Hugan of Grand Blanc is one of these patients who stayed for several weeks at a Hospitality House in Indiana during his proton therapy treatment.
“At the Hospitality House, we didn’t just sleep there, we lived there,” he said. “We developed very close relationships with everyone there; it was like we were one big family renting a great big house together.  It was a wonderful way to share experiences, and to support and be supported by other people who were experiencing what you were experiencing…you just don’t get all of that in a hotel.”
McLaren has also received an outpouring of support from many businesses and organizations in the community who have donated services and goods or who are on board to offer patients varied dining, recreational, cultural and shopping experiences during their stay at the Hospitality House.
Particularly when the McLaren Proton Therapy Center opens, patients will be staying at the Hospitality House for several consecutive weeks. With proton therapy, patients are required to undergo a course of treatment that extends over 5-6 days per week for 6-8 consecutive weeks. Since the McLaren Proton Center will be the only proton center in Michigan when it opens, and only the 12th in the entire United States, patients referred for this specialized treatment will be traveling from throughout Michigan, the Midwest and Canada. Further, the McLaren Proton Therapy Center will initially be the only one in the world to offer the latest generation of proton technology, promising an even greater referral network.
“For most people, insurance does not cover their lodging for this extended course of treatment, so they need an inexpensive place to stay,” noted Donald Kooy, President and CEO of McLaren Flint.
Kooy noted patients also need a place to stay that can offer a wide range of activities and community outreach. Since it only takes about an hour a day for the proton appointment, patients have many hours of free time to fill with activities at the Hospitality House as well as in the greater Genesee County community.
“Our goal is to offer a world class patient experience to go with the world class technology we are providing to patients,” Kooy emphasized.

Source :

  • Laurie Prochazka
    United States of America

Web–review: Sam is reacting well to proton therapy

Sam John, a British 16 year old boy, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when he was 9. In March this year, tests revealed his tumor had started growing again and that he needed to get proton therapy in the US, as the treatment is not yet available in the UK.

Steve and Victoria John, of Fareham, UK, are now in America with their son. So far, Sam has had three treatments of proton beam therapy and will be in the US for another seven weeks.

“Sam’s doing well over here; he’s had his first three treatments now. That’s 28 more treatments before we can think about coming home”, Victoria said. “The good news is the therapy will definitely miss his pituitary gland – something they wouldn’t have been able to do in Southampton, but his hypothalamus and the top of his brain stem will be getting the full brunt of the proton. Short-term side-effects may be just losing some hair where the beams have gone through”

Plans are being looked at for PBT to be provided in the UK. An advisory group has recommended there are around 1,500 patients in England each year – including 250 children – for whom proton therapy would be the best treatment. It is hoped the service will be available in the UK within the next six years.

This type of state-of-the-art treatment costs at least £100,000, and at first the Johns were not sure if the NHS would cover the costs. The family has managed to raise £120,000, and the NHS might finally help too. The family has used some money to pay for their costs while in Florida and will donate the rest to charity.


Web-review: 1000th patient at CDH Proton Center

A major milestone was celebrated at the first and only proton therapy center of Illinois in Warrenville. On June 26, Bill Friedlander, 83, finished his proton therapy treatment for prostate cancer and became the 1000th patient treated at the CDH Proton Center, a ProCure Center.

A graduation ceremony was organized for Bill, with his friends, family, team members and other patients. “I may be lucky enough to be called number 1.000; however, I stand on the shoulders of the 999 people who were treated before me,” Bill said. “I am very fortunate to have found this great treatment option and to be able to receive it surrounded by wonderful people, including new friends I’ve met and the wonderful staff at the center.”

Since its opening in October 19, 2010, the CDH center has treated patients from 25 states and 10 foreign countries with cancerous tumors (brain, breast, central nervous system, head & neck, lung, gastrointestinal tract, prostate), and nearly 150 children.

“Bill’s graduation is an important and exciting milestone for all of us,” said William Hartsell, M.D., medical director of the center. “It’s rewarding to be able to bring this advanced treatment to patients with cancer. While we have been successful in treating 1,000 patients, we know there are thousands more that can benefit.”


Web Review – Little girl with cancer will soon ring Chime of Hope

Courageous three-year-old little girl Ruby Hodgson is just days ago from celebrating the end of her cancer treatment at the University of Florida’s Proton Therapy Institute (UFPTI) in Jacksonville. She will ring a Chime of Hope, which has now become a tradition for all patients on completion of their treatment to symbolize it has worked and they are ready to face the future.

Ruby was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 1 and underwent many treatments. Unfortunately, her tumor returned when she was 3 and specialists recommended she was sent to America to get state-of-the-art proton therapy, a special type of radiation treatment where the tumor is targeted by a precise beam, minimizing the risks of side effects and brain damage.

Ruby and her family flew to the US last month for treatment funded by the NHS. They had to throw a fundraiser called « Ruby’s Gift » to help them manage the cost of their stay in America.

During that period, Ruby was given 30 tiring rounds or proton therapy and showed remarkable fighting spirit. « She has hair loss from the beams on the top and back of her head », her dad said. « And she can be quite agitated at times, which the doctor has told us is probably because of what is going on inside her head. She is taking a lot longer to wake from the daily anaesthetic also. But apart from those effects, she is typical Ruby and just gets on with it. »

Ringing that chime next week will be an important milestone in Ruby’s recovery. UFPTI medical director Nancy P. Mendenhall said the chimes represent « the end of the cancer journey and the beginning of a new freedom ». Ruby’s dad said: « We are looking forward to that day but we’re also very nervous because from that point, it will be Ruby against the tumour again. I guess our lives will never be the same again, but we will take each day as it comes »



Web review – Leading physicians join the Scripps proton therapy center

Two highly regarded radiation oncologists, Ryan Grover, M.D., and Huan Giap, M.D., Ph.D., have joined the medical staff at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center, expected to open for patient care in late summer 2013.

Dr. Grover joins Scripps Clinic as chief of head and neck, central nervous system, sarcoma and gynecologic proton beam therapy. In his new role, he will be responsible for patient consultations, treatment planning and treatment management. Previously, Dr. Grover was chief of head and neck radiation oncology at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif., where he was also an assistant professor of radiation oncology.

Dr. Giap joins Scripps Clinic as chief of breast, gastrointestinal and lung proton beam therapy. He will consult with patients and plan and manage their treatment. From 1998 to 2008, Dr. Giap served as a radiation oncologist with Scripps Clinic. More recently, he was chief medical officer for Advanced Particle Therapy (developer of Scripps Proton Therapy Center). Dr. Giap co-chairs the publication committee and serves on the executive committee of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group.

The Scripps Proton Therapy Center will be San Diego County’s first facility to offer advanced proton therapy to cancer patients. Proton therapy destroys tumors with greater precision and control than other radiation therapies, resulting in less damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. The arrival of these two distinguished doctors will provide a wide range of expertise to many cancer patients.




Web Review – Proton therapy in the UK

A British medical company is working with scientists at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (Cern) to develop affordable proton beam therapy. Thousands of cancer patients could benefit from this ambitious plan to bring state-of-the-art technology into hospitals across the UK.

Two proton therapy facilities are already due to be launched at specialist NHS centers in London and Manchester in 2017. But they will only be able to take 1,500 patients a year and will focus on highly complex and difficult-to-treat cases.

The new proposal led by London company Advanced Oncotherapy with the help of Cern scientists would see cheaper and more accessible proton beam therapy units established in 10 hospitals and clinics across the UK over five years. Dr Steve Myers, Cern’s director of accelerators and technology, said : « We would like to create a machine that fits into a reasonable-sized room and could be installed in any teaching hospital. »

Dr Michael Sinclair, chief executive of Advanced Oncotherapy, hopes to open his first center in 2016. He said: « Our intention is to make the treatment available both to the private sector and the NHS. There are currently 320,000 new cancer patients diagnosed in Britain each year, and up to 15% of those could benefit from this treatment. When the NHS facilities are opened, they will only be able to treat a small proportion of these cases. Our aim is to make this therapy available to the masses, which would be a massive step forward. »



Web Review – Proton therapy for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the trickiest forms of cancer because it is very difficult to find and treat. However, state-of-the-art proton therapy raises hope and might change the outcomes of this disease, despite the challenges and difficulties it involves for researchers and clinicians.

There are currently no specific tools to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages. Its symptoms often  mimic those of other sicknesses. That’s why pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major forms of cancer. 94% percent of patients that are diagnosed die within 5 years. Life expectancy is reduced to 6 months it the cancer has metastasized. These rather bad statitstics haven’t changend in nearly 40 years, unlike many other types of cancer.

As specific symptoms usually arise in the late stages of the cancer, only 20% of patients are still eligible for surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation are thus the primary forms of treatment.

With radiation treatment, the amount of radiation that can be given with conventional doses is limited due to the proximity of the pancreas to critical organs such as the liver and kidneys, as well as the spinal cord, which. That is where proton therapy shows its benefits.

“It’s all about depositing the dose where you want it,” said James Metz, MD, vice chair clinical division, department of radiation oncology and professor of radiation oncology at Penn Medicine.

“Proton therapy allows us to pinpoint exactly where we want to put that radiation dose while missing the normal tissues.”

Patients treated with traditional radiation therapy tend to undergo more side effects. “They get nauseous, they get diarrhea, they feel lousy, their quality of life is not as good,” says Dr. Metz. “Many of them that get protons have a tendency to really go through treatment easier, and I think that’s really important from a quality of life perspective.”