Cancer treatment can be overwhelming and frightening. The first concern for an individual is often their physical well-being, but mental and spiritual health also are important aspects of healing.

The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center empowers patients to achieve the best quality of life by promoting wellness in mind, body and spirit. To help achieve this, the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Radiation Oncology Center care team has a special tradition for patients undergoing their last radiation therapy treatment.

As they reach the finish line, the entire care team joins in a celebration to give their patients a sense of joy and accomplishment.

“Many of our patients undergo treatment for weeks or months at a time and reaching a milestone like their last treatment can lead to a range of emotions, from happiness and relief to sadness,” says Wealthy Villariasa, director, Radiation Oncology Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center. “We want to offer our patients a moment where they can reflect on their experience and process their emotions with our support.”

During the celebration, patients read a poem about their journey with cancer followed by the “ringing of the bell.” In the Radiation Oncology Center, a giant bell hangs on the wall – a symbol of hope for patients to look forward to.

“Ringing the bell is a long-standing tradition of cancer treatments,” says Villariasa. “It signifies the official moment that active treatment ends, and for many patients, the beginning of the next phase in their life.”

View the video below to watch radiation oncology patient, Susan Duphily, ring the bell and celebrate her last radiation therapy treatment.