Urgency Matters, and the Assessment Treatment Center Responds

It was getting late that night, about two months into Jon’s cancer treatment. At first he just didn’t feel well in a way he couldn’t explain, but then he started feeling hot on a cool fall night. He broke out into cold sweats. What might have been a harmless, passing rise in body temperature that other people could ride out was a potentially dangerous symptom for a lymphoma patient. 

The memory of this evening now brings Jon feelings of gratitude — for the swift action and familiar expertise of the staff of Roswell Park’s Assessment and Treatment Center (ATC), who shifted the course of the night for the better.

Jon and his wife, Kim, made a quick call to Roswell Park once they realized what was happening to him, knowing it could be caused by the cancer or his treatment. The nurse on the phone told them to come now.

“Security helped us inside and up to the clinic. A nurse and doctor were waiting for us, and we got right in. I was evaluated and in a room right away,” Jon says. Before long, he and Kim were able to breathe a sigh of relief as the doctor treated his fever and sent him home. What also brought relief was how efficiently the ATC worked.

Had it not been for the ATC, Jon’s night could have turned out much differently. Fever, shortness of breath, weakness — when you’re a cancer patient, these and other symptoms can indicate very different problems than they do for other patients. Medication, chemotherapy, other treatments or even the cancer itself could be responsible. Having the expertly trained and knowledgeable staff of the ATC at the ready for these late-night urgent medical needs can truly be the difference between life and death. 

Why This Kind of Urgent Care Matters for Outpatients

Roswell Park supporter Robert Nuchereno saw firsthand what his brother Ray experienced when he had to turn to another hospital for emergency care before the ATC was available at Roswell Park. Their care team was not familiar with his history of multiple myeloma, and it became a grueling situation for Ray and his loved ones. Not wanting another family to go through a similar situation, Robert worked with Roswell Park to create the Assessment and Treatment Center so they would be able to treat cancer outpatients experiencing urgent but nonlife-threatening situations. 

The Assessment and Treatment Center opened in 2017. Thanks in part to donations, and with the fundraising leadership of Robert Nuchereno and his family, Roswell Park was able to make the ATC available 24 hours a day in 2018. It’s now accessible to our outpatients any time they need its care, day or night. 

Finding Comfort in Consistent Care

Because Jon was seen at Roswell Park, the ATC’s medical staff had all his records on hand. “We were treated right away,” he says, “and we felt comfortable. We did not have to go through a registration process. We knew we were in the right place. My care would be consistent. 

“When you are going through chemo, having the ability to come to a place that knows you when you have an issue associated with your treatment is critical. In an emergency room, you are not a known person; you have to be evaluated and explain everything, which can be difficult, and then have to wait for your records and so forth.” 

Jon has been a key Ride For Roswell volunteer since 2006, so he knows full well the importance of donations. Seeing them at work in the Assessment and Treatment Center really struck home for him. 

“It is very comforting knowing that the ATC is available. I think it is vital. It’s a peace of mind for a cancer patient that if they do have something, there’s a place they can go, and you’re not going to be a number in a line.” 

Jon is doing well today. But he’s glad the ATC is there, and glad for all other Roswell Park patients who find themselves needing it, too.

As a volunteer, it was very gratifying to see firsthand that the funds you help raise are making an impact for cancer patients. You realize that raising funds does make a difference.

Jon Olsen