Most often, our interactions with physicians are in the exam room, the waiting room or the operating room. What we don’t often see is the personal investment doctors make to ensure a brighter, healthier future for their patients. For Crittenton radiation oncologist Dr. Elayne Arterbery, philanthropy is a powerful weapon in the fight against cancer.
“I am a Crittenton Foundation donor because I believe having the best equipment saves lives, especially in the area of cancer care. My donations directly help my patients by providing new, cutting-edge technology,” said Dr. Arterbery. The Xoft system for Intra-operative radiation therapy is just one example of innovative technology. The system, affectionately called Baby Z because of its small size, delivers a single, targeted dose of radiation treatment in as few as 8 minutes. Radiation is delivered directly to the tumor cavity during surgery, minimizing damage to healthy tissue and organs while significantly reducing a patient’s recovery time. Dr. Arterbery is enthusiastic about the benefits. “By causing less disruption for patients, we alleviate some of the emotional and physical burden of traditional radiation therapy, which can require weeks of treatment. For my patients, keeping a normal routine can have a big impact on their recovery. It just gives them a chance to breathe and focus on healing.” Crittenton’s is the only cancer center in Michigan that provides Intra-operative radiation therapy to qualifying breast cancer patients, allowing complete treatment during a single session in the operating room. Intra-operative radiation therapy is one of the many innovative ways to use Baby Z.
Donor investment in equipment and technology is just one way philanthropy is helping the Crittenton Foundation realize its mission of saving and changing lives. Crittenton’s Cancer Center was built because of the charitable support of Steve Stolaruk, a local entrepreneur looking for a way to honor the memory of his late wife, Vivian, who lost her battle with cancer. “I always hoped I would be able to stand up and do my share, for those who need help,” said Mr. Stolaruk. For Dr. Arterbery and her patients, Mr. Stolaruk is leading the way for other donors to make a difference. “We provide these treatments in a restorative setting because of the philanthropy of one individual, and we will continue because of the generosity of so many more. I can’t think of a better investment than helping my patients,” said Dr. Arterbery.