HU Proton Therapy Institute treats 1,000th patient

1,000th Patient Carl Berquist rings completion bell at HUPTI. Photo from Sarita Scott, Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Carl Berquist of Williamsburg is the 1,000th patient treated at The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. He completed his treatment on Friday.

HUPTI shared this statement with WAVY.com in a news release: “It is such a momentous occasion to have been able to join in the fight against cancer for 1,000 patients from Virginia and all over the globe,” said Keith Gregory, HUPTI executive director. “I am thankful to the staff for their dedication and hard work. We are honored to be of service to the community.”

Berquist said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March and a friend who had been treated at HUPTI told him about proton therapy.

“When you hear the word ‘cancer’ it shivers your timbers, but this was fun,”  Berquist said, of his treatment experience. “My treatment team was a happy bunch. The therapists, with their skills and positive personalities, actually made me look forward to the daily experience.”

Berquist, 67, has been a geologist with the Commonwealth for 39 years and he worked throughout his treatment.

The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute opened in August of 2010 and became the eighth proton facility in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in the world.

The HUPTI treats prostate, breast, brain, lung, head and neck, pediatric and other cancers with proton therapy, which pinpoints the tumor precisely, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. The actual treatment of protons lasts less than two minutes. Patients are treated five days a week, from one to nine weeks.

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