Kay Yow Cancer Fund Supports Cleveland Clinic’s Cancer Outreach

Kay Yow Cancer Fund Supports Cleveland Clinic’s Cancer Outreach

In the heart of March Madness, as the nation was buzzing about the NCAA Women's Final Four tournament taking place in Cleveland, a different kind of excitement was occurring a few blocks away at Cleveland Clinic’s Cancer Institute.

For the 16th consecutive year, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund was awarding a grant in the host city of the NCAA Women’s Final Four on behalf of coaches, players, officials and fans nationwide. Founded in 2007, the fund honors Kay Yow, former NC State University head women’s basketball coach, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away in 2009.

This year, a $150,000 grant was awarded to the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Institute to support cancer prevention and outreach programs.

“We are profoundly grateful to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund for their support of our community outreach and patient navigation program,” says NaSheema Anderson, Community Outreach Department Manager, Cleveland Clinic Cancer Institute. “This collaboration holds immense promise as it will enable us to reach and assist so many people who may have been unaware of the importance of early detection or lacked access to vital screening services. We look forward to working with the foundation to improve survival rates and enhance cancer outcomes in Northeast Ohio and beyond.”

The nonprofit Kay Yow Cancer Fund raises funds to support lifesaving cancer research, promote underserved programs that provide access to quality cancer healthcare and unite people in the fight against all cancers affecting women. To date, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has awarded $8.28 million in the fight against all cancers affecting women.

“From the moment we met the team at Cleveland Clinic, we knew we had to support their programs,” says Jenny Palmateer, Kay Yow Cancer Fund CEO. “Their passion for serving under-resourced women and ensuring every woman has access to quality cancer care was undeniable. We look forward to the impact this will have.”

Learn about the Kay Yow Cancer Fund’s Empowerment Tour visit to East Cleveland’s Shaw High School.

Doctor’s Transplant is Lifesaving and Life-Changing

Doctor’s Transplant is Lifesaving and Life-Changing

Francine Cosner, MD, rarely got sick.

One day, the Cleveland Clinic Ob/Gyn physician noticed her ankles were swollen. She went to see her doctor to be evaluated. When tests showed abnormal liver readings, her primary care physician Raul Seballos, MD, referred her to hepatologist Christina Lindenmeyer, MD, who ordered a liver biopsy.

What the biopsy uncovered took everyone by surprise: 80% of Dr. Cosner’s liver had been damaged. She had developed autoimmune hepatitis, possibly triggered by medications she had taken. To protect the liver in the hope that it would heal, they started steroid therapy.

But a few months later, Dr. Cosner began experiencing aggressive liver disease symptoms, including disorientation, extreme fatigue and abnormal lab tests.

She needed a liver transplant.

Flipping from doctor to patient

Dr. Cosner was fortunate.  A liver transplant became available in time, and she underwent surgery.

The recovery posed new challenges. In every area of her life, she had to go from giving to receiving. It was a profound shift that humbled her. “I had never been a patient before,” Dr. Cosner says. “Suddenly, it was not me who was responsible for managing decisions for care. I had to give up control to the team. I felt vulnerable, though I knew I was in good hands.”

At home, she was suddenly completely dependent on her husband. “He kept everything going — cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, working at his own job while also taking care of me. He did it all without any complaints,” she says.

What she learned

Through this experience, Dr. Cosner says her empathy for laboring and post-partum patients she works with at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital and Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital only deepened.

While she expected the need for physical healing, she was surprised by the need for cognitive, psychological recovery. She developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), fearing the unknown or that some new health emergency would emerge. “I needed to talk about my experience, to get it all out,” she says. “People showed up for me, including friends living in different parts of the country. I became aware of support around me that I hadn’t recognized before.”

She found that working with a therapist was helpful, as they are trained to listen and could guide her. Also, she says journaling was critical. “I could dump all the negative emotions into a notebook and detach myself from them,” she says.

Organ donation through a recipient’s eyes

Dr. Cosner says she and other donor recipients have a level of deep gratitude that can’t be measured. It’s also tinged with the sadness of knowing another’s sacrifice.

“The best day of my life, when I received this liver, was the worst day of a family’s life, when they decided to donate it,” she says. “I can only imagine their own struggles.”

She wants these families to know how precious this gift is. “It’s not that I could have died,” she says. “I would have died — there was nothing else to extend my life but that liver transplant.”

Today, she says she’s the happiest doctor around. And appreciates every moment. “When I think about what is meaningful to me as a doctor, it’s not just about a great surgery performed or the baby delivered in the nick of time,” she says. “I’m so proud of the moments a patient opened up to me, when I held their hand.”

Groundbreaking Technology Unveiled at Scully Welsh Cancer Center

Groundbreaking Technology Unveiled at Scully Welsh Cancer Center

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on March 20 at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital’s Scully Welsh Cancer Center to unveil the significant technological advancements poised to transform cancer treatment for patients. More than 70 guests gathered to witness this significant occasion, joining the Radiation Oncology team in celebrating these groundbreaking developments.

Elani Tousimis, MD, MBA, FACS, Medical Director of the Scully Welsh Cancer Center, opened the event by extending a warm welcome to all attendees and setting the stage for what promised to be an evening of innovation and progress.

"As we unveil our latest innovations at the Scully Welsh Cancer Center, we're not just implementing new technologies, we're highlighting the powerful combination of the latest in pioneering science and philanthropy,” says Dr. Tousimis. “These advancements represent hope and a commitment to improving the lives of those affected by cancer. Thanks to our benefactors and the dedication of our team, we are opening a new chapter in cancer care, making every breakthrough a step towards conquering this disease.”

Vero Beach’s Mayor, John Cotugno, attended the event, expressing his pride and admiration for the strides being made in cancer treatment within the community. John Greskovich, MD, Medical Director for the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Maroone Cancer Center, presented on the cutting-edge technology set to be unveiled, while commending the unwavering dedication of the team behind this transformative project. His words underscored the significance of this advancement in enhancing patient care and outcomes.

A highlight of the evening occurred when Dr. Tousimis acknowledged Radiation Oncology Administrator Petrina Zuvich’s exceptional hard work and commitment throughout the completion of the project. Zuvich's contributions were instrumental in bringing the vision to fruition, emphasizing the collaborative effort and dedication driving progress in cancer care.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony signifies the center's readiness to inaugurate a new era in cancer treatment. The event brought together prominent figures of Vero Beach, including longtime supporters Mr. Scully and Mr. Welsh; Dori Stone, President of the Indian River Chamber of Commerce; and Mayor John Cotugno, among others.

Their presence underscores the community's support and collective commitment to advancing healthcare initiatives at Indian River Hospital. Guests celebrated not only the technological advancements, but also the spirit of collaboration and innovation driving progress in cancer treatment at Scully Welsh Cancer Center.

Fueling Innovation Through Philanthropy

With the support of philanthropy, the Scully Welsh Cancer Center has been able to stay at the forefront of technological advancements, providing the highest quality cancer care to the residents of Indian River County. Gifts of all sizes have made it possible to acquire lifesaving equipment, like the Elekta Studio image-guided brachytherapy, which is used by radiation oncologists to accurately deliver higher doses of radiation to more specific areas of the body in comparison to conventional forms of radiation therapy that use external beam radiation. These advancements not only drive innovation, but also improve patient care and outcomes.

Join Us for May Pops!

Join Us for May Pops!

Please join us on Sunday, May 5, 2024, for Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital’s 33rd annual May Pops event. Enjoy a splendid afternoon among friends, immersed in the captivating melodies of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Christopher Confessore and alongside Broadway vocalists Hugh Panaro and Scarlett Strallen. Presenting Sponsors Chase and Wendy Carey invite you to join them in sponsoring May Pops and supporting the campaign to expand and enhance the Indian River Hospital Emergency Department (ED).

This year, all proceeds from the May Pops concert will be dedicated to the renovation of the ED. Currently, the ED space struggles to accommodate patient volume, resulting in longer wait times. To address this challenge, plans are moving forward to reshape the surrounding areas. By expanding the emergency care facilities, the hospital’s skilled caregiving teams can better serve the growing population of Indian River, ensuring efficient healthcare delivery.

For additional information, VIP reservations or sponsorship opportunities, please email Nancy Ross or call 772.226.4955. Tickets also are available online.