Val Schott

Working in healthcare administration for many years, I was afforded the opportunity to tour Oklahoma Proton Center when it first opened in 2010. While I was very impressed with the technology and promise of proton therapy, I never dreamed I would be a patient there. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May of 2022. I began treatment in July, 2022 and finished in August of 2022. I was joined at graduation by my four grandchildren. I am patient number 4,228.

I have always been impressed with the technology and treatment options offered by Oklahoma Proton Center.  As a patient I was even more impressed by the attitude and interaction of the staff with patients. They treat everyone with respect and kindness. They are supportive and do everything they possible can to make your day and experience there very positive and rewarding. As a healthcare administrator, I know how difficult it is to keep finding top quality professionals; when you add the requirement that they also must be very patient positive, the task of finding good people is much more difficult. Oklahoma Proton Center has accomplished that!

No one wants to hear that you have cancer.  That simple phrase strikes fear and concern in all of us regardless of position or occupation. The staff at Oklahoma Proton Center make everyone feel comfortable and relaxed as they move through the treatment process. Everything at the Center is designed to foster a positive approach to this wonderful healing art!   

After completing my treatments and ringing the bell, I decided I wanted to become an advocate for protons as a cancer treatment option. I felt so fortunate to have the Proton Center close and available for my care. My desire to give back began while I was a patient. I met a young boy who was being treated for a tumor behind his eye. With his vision on the line, proton therapy seemed the obvious answer because of its precision and being less invasive than other treatment options. One of the staff members asked his wife, an artist, if she would paint a superhero design on the mask that he was required to wear during his treatments. This small gesture made his a big impact, as it helped him get through his daily treatments with a little more excitement.

Interactions like this with patients is so unusual but so common at Oklahoma Proton Center.  I simply want more people to know about and experience the kindness and care I as well as many others received while being treated at Oklahoma Proton Center.

As an advocate, I generally speak at the new patient luncheons every two weeks.  This is a time for new patients and their significant other to learn more about proton therapy and the center.  Everyone has concerns and apprehensions about cancer and their care.  As both a healthcare administrator and a patient, I can answer a lot of questions on new patient’s minds.  It is very rewarding to see patients and their significant others relax and start to feel more comfortable with their own situation and treatments.

I also volunteer my time with Proton Pals Foundation of Oklahoma. Every dollar given to Proton Pals Foundation goes directly to patients to impact their care. This money can help with hotel stays, gas cards for getting to and from daily treatments, meals as well as many other things. Proton Pals Foundation designs and implements programs as funding allows to help patients in every aspect of their fight against cancer.

Cancer can and does strike anyone regardless of their position or station in life. There is always concern about the financial and personal effects cancer has on each of us.  The little things we can do mean so much to help patients in their treatment process. We are all here to help eliminate cancer and its damaging effects on our society.  Everything we can do, no matter how small or insignificant helps to further this goal.

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