Message from Stuart Klein, Executive Director

Stuart Klein, Executive Director

Aud’s Chime, prominently displayed in our main lobby since January 2013, is a powerful symbol of healing and hope. It is rung by patients the day they complete their six- to eight-week proton therapy treatment. This celebration, and the treatment that makes it possible, is something unique that we want to share with others who are facing a cancer diagnosis. So we have created a new TV commercial that is on air in select Florida cities. Click here to view the commercial.

We shot the commercial entirely on location at our facility, and many of our staff volunteered during the weekend production as extras or helped behind the scenes. All of the people shown in the commercial are proton therapy alumni patients who volunteered to participate. The woman who is featured ringing the chime is Kelly Jones, a breast cancer survivor, who is an assistant principal at a middle school in Gainesville. You can read more about her story in this issue of Precision. She was treated here in 2012, prior to the chime installation. We were able to capture the true, emotional moment of her ringing the chime for the first time surrounded by her actual family and friends. It was inspiring, as all the chime ringing celebrations are, and we think it will be a powerful and persuasive message of hope to all who see the commercial.

Feel free to share the link with your friends and family, and encourage them to help spread the word about the life-saving treatment we deliver every day.


Stuart Klein

Proton therapy preserves quality of life for breast cancer survivor

Kelly Jones

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

On March 27, 2012, nine months after her wedding day, Kelly Jones got an unexpected and unwelcome phone call from her doctor. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

“We should have been planning our first anniversary celebration. Instead we were figuring out how I was going to beat this cancer,” said Kelly during a speech she made at the Oct. 11 dinner and silent auction that was part of the 11th Annual Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® Classic.

She and her husband Darin and her physician decided that she would have a mastectomy followed by six rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.

At the very beginning of her treatment, she decided that she wanted to keep her life as normal as possible, which included working as a middle school assistant principal in Alachua County Public Schools, visiting with friends and staying active with her family.

One evening in July, she was invited by her parents Gail and Eric Brill to go with friends to Steinhatchee, Fla., a Gulf coast community famous for its abundance of scallops and only an hour-and-a-half drive from her home in Gainesville. Among the group was Dr. Nancy Mendenhall, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute medical director. Kelly’s breast cancer treatment came up in conversation, and when Dr. Mendenhall learned that Kelly’s cancer was in the left breast, she took Kelly aside.

At the time, the Institute had started a clinical trial using proton therapy to treat cancer in the left breast, and Dr. Mendenhall encouraged Kelly to consider it. Based on previous research comparing treatment plans of protons, IMRT and conventional X-rays, there was evidence that proton therapy could target the treatment area in the chest and minimize damage to the heart and lungs. This advantage appealed to Kelly, who was already at risk of damage to her heart due to chemotherapy.

Incidentally, much of the research done at the Institute is possible through philanthropic donations and funds raised during the annual Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® Classic. For years, Kelly’s mother Gail Brill had volunteered at the tournament, never knowing that one day her own daughter would benefit from the program.

Shortly after the Steinhatchee scalloping trip, Kelly had a consultation with Dr. Roi Dagan at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville. He evaluated her as a good candidate for proton therapy and eligible for the clinical trial. As they discussed the daily treatment that would take place over six weeks, Kelly insisted that Dr. Dagan make sure that she would be completed in time to go on her annual “girls’ weekend” cruise in the Caribbean. He assured her this would happen.

Three years later, Kelly has no sign of cancer. She and her family and friends are grateful that Kelly had access to proton therapy, and they do what they can to support the Institute and spread the word to others who may benefit from the treatment. They recently volunteered to be in the Institute’s just-released TV commercial featuring Kelly ringing Aud’s Chime in the main lobby. Kelly was interviewed by The Gainesville Sun for an article in the newspaper’s breast cancer awareness special section. And she shared her story with the audience at the Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® dinner. There Kelly thanked her husband Darin for his tremendous support. She thanked Dr. Mendenhall for taking time out of her vacation three years ago to tell Kelly about proton therapy. She thanked the tournament’s past and current donors for making clinical research possible at the Institute. And she thanked Dr. Dagan for his expert care, and of course, for making sure she boarded the ship on time.


>> Click here to learn more about Proton therapy for Breast Cancer.



A Tribute to Aud

Last month, at one of the weekly patient luncheons, Sharon Kadelsik, wife of “graduate” Darrell Kadelsik, shared a poem she wrote. It beautifully conveys the significance of Aud’s Chime. It is published here with her permission.

By Sharon Kadelsik

You claim the place of honor in the House of Proton and proudly declare a message of hope and healing to all who come here.

You reign in your glass chamber and observe the daily activities of those who dispense and those who receive the precious gift of life.

Each of us anxiously awaits the day when it’s our time to have a personal encounter with you. When your beautiful voice will declare to the world that we have conquered the enemy within.

You knew from the first day that we would not stay for long. We are part of an ever changing face of those who have sought a place of refuge and found the healing touch of Proton.

Today is the day you will sing for Darrell and let the world know that he has faced the foe, has fought the battle, and has won. You will herald his victory and send him out into the world with your message of hope for others.

Each time we hear your clear and beautiful chime, we pause and say thank you for all the people who labor in your house and the gift of Proton Therapy.

11th Annual Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® Classic wrap up

Jacksonville Jaguars' mascot Jaxson

Jacksonville Jaguars' mascot Jaxson de Ville helped kickoff the tournament with Stuart Klein, executive director of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute (l), and Michael McPhillips, voluntary tournament chair (r).

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

The 11th Annual Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® Classic presented by IBA and .decimal was held on the First Coast for the first time. It was previously held in the Orlando area, and in its first 10 years raised more than one million dollars to support cancer research at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville. The event took place Oct. 11 and 12 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., with a dinner and auction in the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum and a tournament on the location’s two championship courses – the King & Bear and the Slammer & Squire. To see photos of the event, click here.

Dinner & Auction – Sunday, Oct. 11
This year the event included a dinner and auction the evening before the tournament, making it possible for supporters who do not play golf to participate. Approximately 200 guests gathered in the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum to enjoy an evening of golf history and chances to bid on and win auction items. Dr. Tony Parker, the museum’s official historian, related stories of his time working at the famed St. Andrews course in Scotland and the celebrities he met including actors Michael Douglas and Jack Nicholson and professional golfers like Jack Nicklaus. Proton therapy patient and breast cancer survivor Kelly Jones shared her story. And celebrity Chef Robert Tulko led a live auction of five premium items including a week stay in a beautiful North Carolina cabin and a dinner for six prepared by Chef Robert.

Golf Tournament – Monday, Oct. 12
More than 200 golfers teed off at the two courses at the World Golf Village. Honorary Chair Shannon Miller greeted players during the tournament and at the awards reception shared her experience winning 1996 Olympic gold in gymnastics and later fighting and surviving cancer. World Golf Hall of Fame member Hubert Green, a cancer survivor, played in the tournament as did Josh Scobee, NFL kicker and former Jacksonville Jaguars player. Other special guests included Jaguars’ mascot Jaxson de Ville, Nease High School’s Navy JROTC Color Guard and vocalist Virginia Beverly who participated in the opening ceremonies at both courses and Naval Air Station Jacksonville sailors who tended the U.S. flag at the 18th hole on both courses. On-course activities included chances to win a car by making a hole-in-one, a contest for closest to the pin and a contest for longest drive. Trophies were awarded for the best-scoring teams in each of three skill levels at each course.

Workshop for lung cancer patients and caregivers

Patients and caregivers are invited to learn about the latest treatments for lung cancer at a free workshop taking place at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.

It will be held on November 5 at 12 p.m. in the Research Room. The featured speaker is Dr. Bradford S. Hoppe who is associate professor of radiation oncology at UF and is the James E. Lockwood, Jr., Endowed Chair of Proton Therapy. He will discuss side effects, side-effect management, and tools to overcome the social and emotional challenges of the diagnosis. We hope to answer many of your questions about lung cancer to help you or your loved one manage the disease more successfully.

The workshop is made possible in collaboration with the American Lung Association and a charitable contribution from Lilly. For more details and to RSVP, call Lauren Clark at (904) 520-7120 or visit

Physicians from Bulgaria tour top medical facilities in the U.S.

Physicians from Bulgaria tour UF Health Proton Therapy Institute

A group of 25 physicians from Bulgaria visited Jacksonville, Fla., last month to tour the world-class medical facilities here. After meeting with city leaders, they saw UF Health Jacksonville’s patient simulation lab and trauma one unit, followed by a tour of the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Patient Services Director Bradlee Robbert, with the help of an interpreter, explained the benefits of proton therapy in treating many types of cancer, and showed the group one of the gantry treatment rooms.

About This Newsletter

The Precision Newsletter is an electronic-only publication that is distributed by email. Each issue is sent monthly to patients, alumni patients and friends of the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. As the official newsletter of the Institute, the content is compiled and prepared by our communications representative and approved by the editor Stuart Klein, executive director of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Special bulletin newsletters may occasionally be prepared when timely topics and new developments in proton therapy occur. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor, please click here.


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