Letters from Patients

June 12.2011

Bill Downey, President and COO
Riverside Health System
701 Town Center Drive, Suite 1000
Newport News, VA 23606

RE: Peninsula Cancer Institute-Exceeding Our Expectations

Dear Mr. Downey:

My mom, Julia Bray, was diagnosed with CML in October, 2008, by Guy Tilllinghast, MD, at the Peninsula Cancer Institute (PCI). So began her journey of perseverance.

There have been wins and losses during this journey but one thing has remained constant and that is the exemplary patient care and management provided by the team at the PCI. This institute should be the model for all doctor's offices/practices. It sets Riverside apart from all others.

From the moment we walked into the waiting room, there was a warm and welcome atmosphere. There's even a jigsaw puzzle set up-helps you feel comfortable and at home.

The check-in administrative staff is courteous, helpful and efficient. Appointment times really mean something. Rarely has mom had to wait more than a few minutes. In the various offices and even the area where blood is taken, there are touches of a wonderful "esprit de corps" among the staff. It is a team effort along with a whole patient being treated (Including caregivers).

Patient Care Coordinator is a vital function of the team. Sandra O'Marah, RN, OCN, has been our light in the storm. Sandy has taken and returned all of our calls. She has answered or found the answer to all our questions. She has followed up with us on her own when she felt we needed more information and to check to see how mom was doing. This is practically unheard of today. Sandy even had the dietician call me to work out more high protein foods to optimize mom's food intake.

There aren't enough words to properly describe Dr. Guy Tillinghast (Dr. T). He has always been respectful of mom and looks at her as a whole person, not someone with cancer.

When mom fell while visiting me in Maryland, Dr. T. was most gracious and helpful, along with Sandy, in getting mom's medications sent to us. He takes as much time as we need to explain care, side effects, solutions, concerns-whatever we need. We never feel like an interruption in his day. He gives us hope and that's key in fighting cancer. We have total trust in his decisions. He moves with caution and consideration. Most of all, he has an infinite medical knowledge of cancer and compassion for his patients.

The insight and vision of Dr. Mark Ellis in implementing this institute and all the functions associated therein is brilliant. His legacy will continue healing far beyond his years on earth.

We don't know what the future holds for mom but we do feel we have the best doctor, best healthcare team, best cancer care, best everything possible to give her a quality standard of living as long as we can. PC1 is exceeding our expectations. Thank you for this gift for our family.


Constance F. Mays
Daughter of PC1 Patient, Julia F. Bray