October 26, 2020
Kansas City, Kan. — The University of Kansas Health System has received a $2 million gift to advance proton therapy from longtime and loyal supporter Annette Bloch.
Mrs. Bloch’s gift was announced on Sunday, October 25, during FOX4’s ProtonAthon, a special broadcast to help raise awareness and funds to support the health system in bringing proton therapy to Kansas City. With this latest gift, the Richard & Annette Bloch Family Fund's total support for proton therapy is $3.8 million.
Proton therapy, the most technologically advanced form of radiation treatment available today, uses a pencil-thin beam of protons to deliver radiation directly to the tumor, killing cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue. With a low radiation dose, protons enter the body, stop at the tumor – matching its size and shape – and deposit the bulk of the cancer-fighting energy there. The radiation does not extend beyond the tumor.
Proton therapy services will be located next to the Richard and Annette Bloch Radiation Oncology Pavilion on our main campus in Kansas City. Construction on the site began early in 2020, with completion expected in late 2021.
Proton therapy will be provided through The University of Kansas Cancer Center, the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
Proton therapy is beneficial for most localized solid tumors that have not spread to other areas of the body. This includes cancers of the brain and central nervous system, breast, esophagus, head and neck, liver, lung, lymphatic system, eyes, pancreas, prostate, bone and others. Proton therapy can also be used for many pediatric cancers.
When completed, the multimillion-dollar facility will serve approximately 400 patients a year, with room to expand as demand grows. This endeavor is part of the health system’s ongoing vision that no one should need to leave Kansas City to get the best healthcare.
There are currently 34 proton therapy centers throughout the United States, but none in Kansas nor the surrounding states of Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Arkansas. By providing this powerful treatment here, adults and children who have cancer will not be forced to travel out of state to receive lifesaving proton therapy care. Cancer patients can remain closer to their home, family and much-needed support systems.
Over the past 2 decades, Mrs. Bloch’s generosity has had a remarkable impact on the health system’s ability to provide the highest quality care for its patients and families. In 2008, her transformational $20 million gift benefited breast imaging, blood and marrow transplant and radiation oncology programs. In 2009, the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion and the Richard and Annette Bloch Radiation Oncology Pavilion were named to recognize her generosity.
In 2015, her $10 million challenge grant for Cambridge Tower A helped make the new building a reality. She has also generously supported the Bloch Heart Rhythm Center. With her latest gift, Mrs. Bloch, who is a cancer survivor, continues her legacy of helping thousands of cancer patients and families in Kansas City and the region, today and into the future.