Local News

Thursday, October 17, 2019

New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (NYCBS) celebrated the opening of its latest cancer center at 49 Route 347 in Port Jefferson Station. This center is NYCBS’ 15th in Suffolk County and the 30th NYCBS cancer center across Nassau County, Bronx, Manhattan and Queens.

New York Cancer & Blood Specialists opens its 15th center in Suffolk County.

As patients enter the new 20,000-square-foot cancer center, they will be met by a greeter, who will make sure that they get exactly to the place they need to go, as we want every patient to have the same remarkable experience and to know we value their time as much as we value our own. Within this new center, NYCBS will offer services to patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The new center will be open on weekends and holidays.

The celebration featured a surprise performance by multiplatinum, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. DeGraw, who lost his mother to pancreatic cancer in 2017, spoke about the new NYCBS cancer treatment center.

“Cancer never hit me personally until my mother became ill,” he says. “It’s the hardest thing ever to talk about. This facility is the reason I’m here. It’s nice that there’s a local facility like this.”

NYCBS’ newest facility encompasses several amenities cancer patients need in one spot.

Attendees of the ceremony also included local politicians Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, a two-time cancer survivor, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilmen Neil Foley and Kevin LaValle, and Councilwomen Valerie Cartright and Jane Bonner.

The Phillips Family Cancer Center is rolling out a year-round, ongoing schedule of free programs specifically curated for men and women who have been diagnosed with cancer, including those undergoing radiation or medical oncology treatments or in remission. The classes, workshops, support groups and services are produced and presented free to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers on the East End by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Wellness Institute.

Research shows that a strong support system can improve the patient experience. Patients get stronger and have better endurance and less depression.

Current topics and classes that are offered by The Phillips Family Cancer Center include support groups, nutrition education, singing (no prior experience necessary), exercise, yoga, reiki, aqua-ize and boxing. Many more workshops are in development. While all the programming is free, registration is required, as space is limited.

NYU Winthrop Hospital launched a highly anticipated pet therapy program, Winthrop’s Animals Give Support (WAGS), which kicked off with visits from Schnoodles, a schnauzer poodle, and Oliver, a miniature golden doodle. The two adorable dogs made rounds among patients and in public areas, delighting young and old alike and easing stress among hospital-goers. Faces lit up with smiles, and “Aws” were especially audible in the hospital’s main waiting area, where Schnoodles and Oliver proved popular among visiting families, as well as among passing staff who couldn’t resist quick meet-and-greets with the pets. Soon, pet therapy will be offered to patients upon request, and while the program is expected to operate twice weekly at first, the hope is that it will grow to include daily dog visits.

Members of the pet therapy team at NYU Winthrop

Studies have also shown pet therapy visits can help patients’ health. Fibromyalgia patients, for example, showed significant improvements in pain and mood from pet therapy, and pediatric cancer patients were better motivated to participate in treatment protocols.

The WAGS dogs are certified pet therapy dogs in conjunction with the nonprofit Pet Partners, a national leader in pet therapy programs, and Bideawee, a leading no-kill pet rescue organization serving Long Island and the metropolitan area.

Peconic Bay Medical Center offers many free workshops, including the caregiver’s workshops held:

  • Thursday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m.–noon; Medicaid vs. Medicare: Know the Difference in Eligibility & Coverage; Robin Burner Daleo, Esq., Burner Law Group PC
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30; 11 a.m.–noon; Understanding and Responding to Alzheimer’s/Dementia-related behaviors; Elizabeth Robles, Alzheimer’s Association
  • Tuesday, Nov. 12; 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; Caregiver Retreat
  • Wednesday, Dec. 18; 11 a.m.–noon; Understanding Payment Options for Elder Care; Steve Kramer, Esq., Feldman, Kramer & Monaco PC

Peconic Bay Medical Center’s annual Benefit in Black & White was more than just an evening of dinner and dancing in celebration of the hospital. The kindness displayed through a gift of generous funding for the region’s fastest-growing healthcare institution shone the brightest during the evening’s festivities thanks to a generous gift of $10 million. The gift was presented to the hospital by the Chair of Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation’s Board of Directors, Emilie Roy Corey, and her husband, Michael, during the Sept. 13 event at Westhampton Country Club. It is the largest gift from an individual that the hospital has received in its history.

From left: Samantha Vigliotta, Vice President, Peconic Bay Medical Center; Emilie Roy Corey, Chair, Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors; Michael Corey; and Andrew J. Mitchell, President and CEO, Peconic Bay Medical Center

The contribution will be utilized to improve access to critical and primary care services and to enhance medical and surgical services at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

“It is crucial for Peconic Bay Medical Center to be able to continue their important work here on Long Island’s East End, saving lives and providing state-of-the-art medical treatment each and every day in our community,” Emilie Roy Corey says.

She and Michael Corey are also the founding supporters of Pegasus House Palliative Care at Peconic Bay Medical Center. Pegasus House seeks to ease pain and suffering while providing the best possible quality of life for patients afflicted with chronic or life-limiting illnesses. It embraces the patient’s family because not only are family members key to providing care and comfort to the patient, but also they need care and comfort themselves. This program has helped thousands of patients in our community since its founding in 2009.

The 10th annual Village Cup Regatta organized by the Port Jefferson Yacht Club raised a record $91,000 this year to be divided between Mather Hospital’s Palliative Medicine Program and the Lustgarten Foundation: Pancreatic Cancer Research. Over the 10 years of the event, more than $600,000 has been raised for the two organizations.

Mather Vice President for Public Affairs Nancy Uzo presented a trophy to the Port Jefferson Yacht Club’s Chuck Chiaramonte and Gary Passavia on the 10th anniversary of the Village Cup Regatta in recognition of more than $300,000 raised by the event for the hospital.
Photo © Mather Hospital

The Regatta was started when the club — then known as Setauket Yacht Club — decided it needed to reach out to the local community and give back.

“We came up with the Village Cup Regatta,” says club member Charles “Chuck” Chiaramonte, who was Commodore at the time. “So many people don’t sail and don’t really know what a joy it is. What better way to reach out than to share the joy of sailing with them and have them come sailing with us?”

Having recently lost two of its members to pancreatic cancer, the group made the Regatta a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer. The event is a friendly competition featuring two teams of sailboats — all owned and captained by the club — one representing Mather Hospital and the other the Village of Port Jefferson. Since Mather doesn’t have a pancreatic cancer program, the event supports its Palliative Medicine Program, which aims to prevent and relieve suffering and provide the best quality of life for people living with pain, complex symptoms and stresses from a chronic illness. The village won this year’s cup at the Sept. 7 race on Long Island Sound.

For expectant moms, NYU Winthrop Hospital has a robust volunteer doula program. A doula is a nonmedical professional, trained in childbirth, who provides emotional, physical and educational support to expectant mothers — before, during and after childbirth. Studies have shown doulas provide vast benefits, improving outcomes, including decreasing the overall Caesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of labor-inducing medication by 40% and requests for an epidural by 60%.

One NYU Winthrop doula, who also happened to be an ordained minister, even married a couple who were upset that their baby wanted to arrive before their impending marriage. The word doula is Greek for “woman’s servant,” and that’s the role a doula serves — providing whatever comfort, care and support a woman needs to make the birthing experience a more positive one.