At nearly every hospital across the nation that treats cancer patients, you will find a bell proudly displayed in the treatment areas. Each cancer patient who completes their course of treatment is given the opportunity to ring the bell, signaling the end of that journey and the beginning of their next phase. It is believed the tradition started with Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Irve Le Moyne, who had radiation treatments for head and neck cancer in 1996. It is reported he told his doctor he wanted to follow the Navy tradition of ringing the bell, which represented a job was done. He brought a bell with him to his last treatment, rang it three times and left it with the staff at that facility. It was mounted with a sign which reads, “Ring this bell, Three times well, Its toll to clearly say, My treatment’s done, This course is run, And I am on my way!” On Monday, Dec. 7, that bell will be rung at St. Anthony Regional Hospital’s Cancer Center, as they open their doors to treat their first patients. In any year but 2020, this opening would be met with a flood of area residents getting their first look at the free-standing, 21,000 square-foot, $16.5 million state-of-the-art center on the St. Anthony campus. But COVID-19 has made a Grand Opening of that nature impossible. Instead, a virtual tour has been released by St. Anthony, providing a glimpse into a place one employee says “feels like hope.” Local cancer survivors join staff and board members in describing the facility and what this means to them. Tears were shed many times in the making of this video by patients as well as St. Anthony employees who say they feel the impact and the importance of this center on a personal and professional level as they work to help friends and neighbors through a difficult journey. Bishop R. Walker Nickless calls the cancer center a place for healing and comfort and Gov. Kim Reynolds congratulates the region. She says, St. Anthony has excelled in caring for patients for more than 100 years. “This new cancer center is the fulfillment of an incredible vision paired with a tremendous amount of hard work.” And come Monday, as that bell is rung for the first time, it will signal “the end of this journey, from building hope, to hope delivered.” A link to the video can be found below.
Link to virtual tour of St. Anthony Cancer Center: https://www.stanthonyhospital.org/hope-delivered/