FPL and Baptist Health South Florida executives gather in front of the new Florida Power & Light Company Welcome Center.

The Miami Cancer Institute’s proton therapy program for pediatric cancer patients received a $1 million infusion from Florida Power & Light Co. The gift was conferred Sept. 18, during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Baptist Health and FPL hope this donation will raise awareness about the importance of furthering childhood cancer treatment.

“The generosity of donors helped us obtain this exceptional technology, and the generosity of FPL will help us continue to make strides in pediatric oncology,” said Dr. Minesh Mehta, chief of Radiology at Miami Cancer Institute.

Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, provides proton therapy to treat pediatric cancer patients. This treatment uses pencil beam scanning technology, which precisely targets tumors and largely spares normal surrounding tissue, thus decreasing the patient’s risk of side effects.

“FPL and Baptist Health … is constantly seeking out new technology to improve the service we provide to our community,” said FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy. “From drones and substation robots to smart meters and smart grid devices, FPL uses innovative technology to make our energy grid stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient for our customers. Baptist has taken that same innovative approach to offer the best of health care to our community.”

The $1 million donation came through FPL’s charitable arm, NextEra Energy Foundation. Alex Villoch, CEO of Baptist Health Foundation, said the health system was grateful for the gift.

“In the United States alone, more than 15,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer each year. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes,” said Villoch. “It impacts far too many, but Baptist Health and Miami Cancer Institute are committed to improving those statistics. And the generosity of partners like FPL will help us achieve that goal.”

Baptist Health renamed the proton therapy program’s welcome desk to Florida Power & Light Company Welcome Center. Silagy said the Miami Cancer Institute can continue to offer proton therapy treatment to children. “Our children are tomorrow’s leaders. And, no child should ever be robbed of his or her youth because of the grim diagnosis of cancer,” he said. “Proton therapy is ideal for treating pediatric cancer because its precision minimizes unwanted side effects. Effective and efficient, proton therapy helps shorten treatment times so our children can get back to being … children.”

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