Cancer Center to integrate VR and more from Festival of Trees proceeds

Posted at 9:07 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 23:13:59-05

While some Idahoans will be attending the Saint Alphonsus' Festival of Trees this week, others will be bravely fighting cancer diagnoses with chemotherapy treatments.

"Fighting cancer-- it's a long road and it's a hard road, um, and a lot of times patients aren't able to travel anymore depending on where they are in that journey," said Megan Skeem, Cancer Care Centers Manager at Saint Alphonsus.

This is why Saint Alphonsus says virtual reality will be their next investment for cancer care.

"Evidence-based medicine proves that VR can help reduce pain and anxiety," she said. "We thought if we could provide them the opportunity to escape to a beach that they really really love, or maybe go skydiving..."

And to acquire the funds for that investment, this year's Festival of Trees will benefit the Cancer Care Center at Saint Alphonsus.

"Today we treat about 30 patients per day in our infusion room, and with this expansion and remodel it will allow us to treat about 45 patients per day."

Added private bays and more art therapy resources are other ideas staff has for its improvement.

"We currently have an artist in residence who does some amazing artwork pieces with our patients as they're sitting in the chair from 6 to 8 hours per day receiving their chemotherapy."

Organizers say they're hoping to surpass last year's record-breaking proceeds of about 600 thousand dollars.

"Ya know, we're really looking at a great opportunity to treat patients in a timeline that works best for them-- at a day of time-- and offer them some flexibility and really treat that growing need."