Thursday, September 8th marked the second Patient Appreciation Luncheon hosted by Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center. All area cancer patients and survivors were invited to the luncheon held in the Denali Room of Central Peninsula Hospital. All patients, cancer survivors and a guest were invited regardless of where the patient received treatment. Being able to receive treatment locally has been a great improvement to the quality of life for residents of the Kenai Peninsula. Denise Gerlach who heads up marketing for the group came up from Tennessee for the event and told the Dispatch, “Our Company’s signature is gratitude. We are grateful to be able to provide the services to help patients here locally. So as an example of that we hold this event yearly to say thank you to the patients that have entrusted their care to us. Additionally it’s an opportunity to make friendships and share with those who have been through the same treatment. Patients are here for several weeks and we get to know them and they become like a second family so it’s kind of like a family reunion,” said Gerlach.
Dr. Jamie Blom recently moved to the Peninsula to join Dr. John Halligan at Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center and is a board certified radiation oncologist with over 14 years’ experience in the treatment of all types of cancer with radiation therapy. Dr. Blom came to Alaska from the hills of east Tennessee, where he was in private practice for many years. He was on hand at the luncheon to greet his patients and said, “I came here seven years ago to join Dr. Halligan. He and I were Army doctors together at Walter Reed back in the nineties and when the opportunity came to join him here in Alaska I jumped at it because there is no one I’d rather work with. He’s a wonderful man and wonderful physician. We opened this facility to meet the need. It made sense to have a doctor here for all the patients rather than have all the patients have to travel to Anchorage. We been blessed to have been so well received by the community as evidenced by the hundred some patients that came out today for the luncheon. One of the reasons we love what we do in radiation oncology is that we get to see these patients every day for weeks and weeks and we cultivate relationships with them and it’s fun to see them come back and stay in touch after their treatment is completed and heartwarming to see them doing well and outside of a clinical situation where we can share a meal,” said Dr. Blom.
According to Dr. Blom cancer treatments are improving rapidly, “I’ve been doing this for 22 years now and the way we treat cancer now is completely different than we did when I trained everything is an evolution and there is always for hope for changes and it always comes, how and when it comes we just don’t know, but it does,” he said. For more information about the Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center call 907-262-7762 or check out peninsularadiation.com.