Published Sunday, May 06, 2012
By ALEX MCRAE
Most in attendance could remember when a diagnosis of cancer was considered a death sentence. But on Saturday, the large crowd gathered at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Newnan facility were unanimous in saying that CTCA has brought them and their loved ones something unexpected: “Hope.
That theme was repeated time and again during a special blessing event held to mark the 100-day countdown to the facility’s opening on Aug. 15. CTCA’s Newnan hospital is the company’s first Southeast facility and is expected to draw patients from across the region.
“We are on a journey,” said Kane Dawson, president and CEO for the Southeast Region of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “We’re only 100 days out and we can’t wait to open.”
Dawson then referred to a steel beam that was signed by current and former CTCA patients or survivors at the facility’s groundbreaking event last summer. The installation of that “Beam of Hope” was the highlight of Saturday’s activities. The beam, with all inscriptions from groundbreaking day still clearly visible, was placed over the main entrance to the facility and will remain uncovered so that all who enter or leave the CTCA facility may read the messages inscribed there.
After Dawson’s opening remarks, the rest of the program was moderated by Newnan native Chip Gordon, who serves as director of pastoral care at CTCA at Southeastern Regional Medical Center. Gordon said he could sum up the day’s events in one word: “Hopeful.”
He pointed out the many cancer survivors present and made special mention of their friends and family members, those Gordon said had “gone through the journey with them.” Gordon closed by saying, “Hope binds us together.”
Gordon also introduced over a dozen members of the “local faith community,” including many local pastors who were on hand for the occasion. He spoke about the excitement surrounding the raising of the Beam of Hope, and spoke of the meaning and symbolism of the term “Grounded in Hope,” which is represented by the beam’s installation.
Cancer survivors, patients and caregivers were asked to come forward for special prayers and blessings, and Kristin Schriks sang “Healing is in Your Hands.” The crowd then watched as a construction crew raised the Beam of Hope.
Once the Beam of Hope was raised, those present were taken on guided tours of the new facility.
David Kent, senior vice-president for operations for Newnan’s CTCA at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, said, “It’s so wonderful for cancer patients all across the Southeast than we can bring this facility here and celebrate the event with local faith leaders.”
After the beam was installed, Dawson said, “This is a huge day for CTCA. This event is truly a blessing. Wherever we have installed Beams of Hope we always hear from people that they feel a special blessing when they walk through our doors and see that beam. We know that will continue here and we are so glad we could commemorate the event with the local clergy.”
Those in attendance were invited to write favorite scriptures or inspirational messages on areas of the hospital floor. Many took advantage of the opportunity. The messages were often signed by several friends or family members.
The all-digital hospital will open August 15, featuring 25 private inpatient treatment rooms, surgical suites, specialized treatment suites for endoscopy and bronchoscopy, state-of-the-art radiation and infusion therapy departments, rehabilitation and physical therapy department, concierge services, a dining room, a chapel, onsite accommodations for outpatients and their families, and more.
The Newnan facility joins CTCA regional hospitals in suburban Chicago, Philadelphia, Tulsa and suburban Phoenix. CTCA specializes in treating advanced-stage and complex cancer with a fully integrated model that combines leading clinical treatments and technologies with scientifically supported complementary therapies to help manage side effects and improve each patient’s quality of life.