Maybe it’s your mom or your best friend. Maybe it’s your next door neighbor. Maybe it’s your child’s teacher. Maybe, it’s you. Cancer affects most of us at some point in our lives. Since opening in 1993, the Regional Health John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute has provided care for thousands of patients providing inpatient and outpatient oncology services, supportive laboratory and imaging services, as well as services for related clinical research trials. They work to continually review and update techniques and technologies to provide leading edge cancer therapies. Your support and participation in foundation events throughout the year help with the cost of these technologies and serve as a thoughtful way to honor those members of our community whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
Annual events held by Regional Health Foundation include: Tough Enough to Wear Pink, Pink Champagne Brunch, Paint the Rock Pink, and Tee It Up Fore Cancer Golf Tournament.
Although James “Jim” Schultz has been living in the Black Hills since 1986, the Chicago accent is still unmistakable more than 30 years later. He served as a law enforcement officer in Cook County, Ill., before coming to the Black Hills and continuing his law enforcement career in South Dakota with the Rapid City Police Department and the Hermosa Marshall’s Office.
In 1971 and 1972, he served in the Air Force in Vietnam during the war. He now lives in Hermosa, and he proudly wears his Vietnam veteran’s baseball cap.
Jim’s work in law enforcement and in the Air Force showed his strength and tenacity, which he had to pull from in August 2017, when he was diagnosed with an aggressive type of
prostate cancer. Following specialty surgery, Jim’s treatment began with TomoTherapy at the Regional Health John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute.
TomoTherapy, an advanced type of radiation treatment, combines intensity modulated radiation with computed tomography (CT) scanning to deliver precise radiation to targeted areas while avoiding nearby tissue and healthy organs.
The Cancer Care Institute’s TomoTherapy system was upgraded through funds from Regional Health and a donation of $400,000 from the Regional Health Foundation. The Foundation was able to donate this significant amount of money to the system due to the success of its Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign. The campaign supports the fight against all cancers.
Jim underwent 37 treatments – five days a week for just over seven weeks – and got to know the Cancer Care Institute staff well. Jim felt that the relationships he built while going through this extensive treatment helped him get through this difficult time.
Regional Health and the Regional Health Foundation salute Jim’s service to our country. The receptionists recognized his cap as he walked in the door of the Cancer Care Institute, and they had him checked in before he got to the counter. The staff looked forward to Jim’s visits and liked to talk with him about the different “attitude” t-shirts he wore, like the one in the above photo.
Radiation Therapy Supervisor Mark Harder and Radiation Oncologist Michael Swartz, M.D., were two of the many people at the Cancer Care Institute who made an impact on Jim as he came and went from his 37 treatments. “Dr. Swartz was really easy to get along with, and he seems really sharp,” Jim says.
Jim had his last radiation treatment at the end of April, and he still makes regular follow-up visits with his doctor. “So far, so good,” Jim says with a smile. We are smiling with you, Jim!