By Todd Stevens, president and CEO, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
At Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, our inspiration comes from patients and their family members—from survivors, to those who we honor and remember, each day brings renewed hope, renewed energy and an opportunity to do more. We were all reminded of this recently by former Governor Kathleen Blanco who so gracefully shared her cancer experience in an open letter to the citizens of Louisiana. During what she described as “the fight of her life which will be difficult to win,” she ended by wishing all Louisiana families a hopeful new year. How beautiful is her perspective and what an important reminder for us all: to always have hope.
In that spirit, let’s focus on all of the remarkable progress over the past year; it truly was one of extraordinary accomplishments for the Center. With dedicated hospital partners, physicians and team members, we aggressively advanced our mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer for thousands of people throughout Louisiana and beyond.
In recognition of the team’s excellence and generous community support, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center received many awards and accreditations this year including: three-year reaccreditation from the American College of Radiology, reaccreditation of the LSU/Mary Bird Perkins Medical Physics Residency Program by the Commission on Medical Physics Education Programs and the inaugural Innovator of the Year Team Award by the National Association of Cancer Center Development Officers for fundraising and philanthropy.
In addition to these achievements, I wanted to recognize some of the remarkable accomplishments across Louisiana where our mission is making a difference.
Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center:
- Marked one year of treating patients with the revolutionary Gamma Knife Icon, caring for those with brain tumors and central nervous system conditions.
- Partnered with Woman’s Hospital to bring unprecedented breast and gynecological cancer care to women throughout the region at three locations.
- Received the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award – achieved by only seven percent of facilities nationwide.
- Many departments within Our Lady of the Lake, including cancer-related areas, transitioned to Epic, a top-rated electronic health record software system. Epic provides an enhanced, patient-centered approach to care.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Covington:
- As a result of collaboration that makes St. Tammany Cancer Center possible, the hospital received accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.
- Added the Elekta Agility multileaf collimator to both linear accelerators, allowing for greater precision in radiation therapy.
- Community event 24 in 24, hosted by Crossfit No Surrender, raised an astounding $92,449, bringing the four-year total for this event to more than a quarter million dollars to support care for Covington-area patients.
- Annual Benefits of Home gala raised an amazing $166,500. Prevention, education, early detection, teamwork, survivorship, innovation, research and patient assistance are all generously supported through these and many other donor efforts.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Gonzales:
- Hosted the inaugural screening event Live Well Ascension, presented and funded by the Gonzales Area Foundation (GAF). Almost 170 Ascension-area residents received five types of cancer screenings and other health checks, 58 percent of whom had never before been screened for cancer.
- Survivorship services, focusing on enhancing quality of life for patients during and after treatment, were expanded due to generous GAF support.
- In all, the GAF contributed more than $140,000 to fund cancer programs through its annual Gala and other events.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Hammond:
- Added the Elekta Agility multileaf collimator to allow for greater precision in radiation therapy.
- Launched a cancer support group for individuals in active or post treatment, as well as for caregivers that provides an outlet to discuss issues, challenges and successes related to a cancer diagnosis.
- Received an unprecedented Geaux Pink gift of $10,000 from Florida Parishes Bank directly impacting patient care.
Mary Bird Perkins TGMC Cancer Center:
- Began offering a new standard-of-care option for patients, high-dose rate brachytherapy, a proven treatment option for gynecologic and other cancers.
- Daniel J. Bourgeois, III, MD, MPH, radiation oncologist, joined Jeffrey Long, MD and the other members of the radiation therapy team.
- The annual Ladies Night Out event raised more than $148,000, directly benefiting Bayou Region patients.
As I look back over 2017, I am awed and inspired by the dedication, determination and compassion shown by our team members and the communities we are fortunate enough to serve, and I am confident the best is yet to come. Please accept my warmest wishes for a peaceful, joyful, and most of all, a hopeful holiday season.