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Cancer Care Center unveils wireless computer bays

The Thomas Family Cancer Center at Olympic Medical Center was created with its patients in mind. Being diagnosed with cancer is a terrifying event, not only for the patient but also for their loved ones, so everything about the center — from the neutral colors to the artwork and tranquility garden — is meant to give patients and their friends and family a sense of peace while they undergo treatment.

“We don’t want it to seem institutional. We want it to seem warm, we want it to seem welcoming, we want it to seem less scary for people coming in,” explained Sara Maloney, associate executive director of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation.

Throughout the years, the foundation has been instrumental in helping the center create a sense of ease for patients. It has donated stained glass that hangs in radiology and has funded the garden that sits between the radiation therapy and chemotherapy buildings.

“The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of patients’ lives, so anything that we can do to enhance their experience, to make their experience a little bit easier, that’s what we try and support,” said Maloney.

The foundation’s most recent purchase for the center was a system of IBM laptop computers. The laptops are set up in each room of the center’s chemotherapy division (the building has six private rooms and four open bays) and are attached to adjustable arms for easier access.

“This is where patients spend the most time in the clinic. They can be anywhere from two hours, four hours, up to eight hours, so it’s really important to give them the comfort and accessibilities of home,” Ken Rarey, the center’s director, said.

Funding for the system — about $25,000 — was raised by the foundation in 2006 during its Harvest of Hope Wine Gala.

The purpose of the new system, which has been up and running for only two weeks, is to provide entertainment for people undergoing chemotherapy. The system provides patients with Internet access as well as giving them the ability to watch DVDs or listen to music.

“It’s a huge benefit to patients. If you try to imagine, prior to this being installed, really the only option for you in here was to read, and that can be very draining, very tiring and frankly, it can be boring,” Maloney said. “It’s a really long day for people who come here if you don’t have a visitor come with you.”

According to Rarey, they would like to create an educational DVD that patients can watch while receiving treatment so they might better understand what they’re undergoing.

“Anything you can do on a laptop with wireless conductivity, we have that. We can expand to virtually anything we want,” Rarey said. “A lot of guys come in here to do their work, but I think the biggest thing is the movies. People really love the movies.”

The foundation also was able to donate 60 to 70 DVDs to the center and is still accepting donations of either DVDs or music CDs. For more information about the foundation or to donate, call Sara Maloney at 582-5571.



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