By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON - Williamson Appalachian Regional Hospital and Harlan ARH Hospital announced a new affiliation Wednesday with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, with a celebration that was open to the public.
The new affiliations will expand cancer treatment options and access to advanced cancer care across southeastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia.
Present at the celebration was President and CEO of ARH, Joe Grossman, who shared his excitement regarding the news.
“This has been a great journey for me and my family. I go home and tell my family that you guys are my family, too. You get under my skin – in a good way!” he said to the large crowd that gathered under a tent in the ARH parking lot. “This is all about hardworking, dedicated people and physicians helping members of our community. Who is in our community? Our friends, our family, and our neighbors.”
Grossman continued, “It is important that any care that could be provided at home should be provided at home. UK wants us to succeed and understands what being a true partner is all about.”
He emphasized the importance of taking measures to provide better cancer treatment at home for patients who have been diagnosed with the illness.
“There is no one here who doesn’t know someone diagnosed with cancer,” Grossman said, gesturing to the crowd in front of him.
“There are hundreds of people a year who get that terrible news,” he said. “This partnership will help us start beating it. We’re bringing more physicians in and improving our quality care. That’s what it is all about.”
Walid E. Baz, medical director of oncology and hematology, shared several of the same sentiments.
“As many of you know, cancer is tough on the mind as well as the body,” Baz said. “Treatment at home near loved ones can provide love and support, and truly help those that are going through this battle.”
Tim Hatfield, community CEO and administrator of the Williamson ARH, also spoke to those present.
“You are our family, and this is all about taking care of our family,” Hatfield said. “We are proud and excited. We are also truly blessed to be doing well during a time when other hospitals seem to be struggling.”
Several booths were set up during the event to inform those attending about the importance of regular doctor check-ups, including free blood sugar tests, blood pressure tests and skin cancer screenings.
The skin cancer screenings were given using a machine called the Skin Scope. Patients sit on one side of the Skin Scope machine and place their head inside the black curtains, where they can view their face in a mirror. The physician then uses the other side of the machine to clearly view the patient’s face and seek out any abnormalities, discolorations or spots that may need further medical evaluation.
The booths handed out free pamphlets, informational booklets, chapstick with SPF 15, and bottles of sunscreen with SPF 30.
Schwan’s was also present at the event, with plenty of free ice cream to hand out to those present. Cold bottled water was made available, as well.
Hayley Molloy Cook is a news reporter and writes features for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279, or on Twitter @hayleymcook.