THERE was no mistaking Brian Buffington had completed his six months of chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia this week.
The 79-year-old from Mossman was the first patient to ring a new bell installed in the Oncology Day Unit at the Liz Plummer Cancer Centre in Cairns, signalling the end of his treatment.
“There’s only one word to describe it, ‘exhilarating,’ it’s been a long haul and it’s good to give it up and I’m privileged to ring the bell for the first time,” he said.
Previously, patients only had access to a very small bell on the reception desk in the unit but they can now mark their special milestone with a large bell, donated by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. It includes a plaque which reads:
My Turn to Ring
By Ringing this Bell
Three Times Really Well,
I Signal to Say
On this Very Day
My Treatment is Done,
This Course Is Run and
I’m On My Way.
Jennifer Faulkner, the Oncology Day Unit Nurse Manager said the Cancer Care Centre provides approximately 1150 cancer treatments a month and it’s wonderful to see patients able to celebrate the end of their treatment.
“The staff in centre are very dedicated and passionate about their work and often become very close to their patients as treatment can go on for months or years,” she said.
“This new larger bell helps our patients to share the joy of reaching a significant milestone and it is a reminder their treatment only one chapter in their lives not their whole story.”
Mr Buffington said he would be celebrating the end of his cancer treatment by going on a cruise with his family to mark his 80th birthday in June.