When Susan Haskins began weeks of proton beam radiation therapy to treat her rare sarcoma cancer in mid-February, she made the trips with her husband from their home in Albany, New York. Every day, when they entered the basement of the Francis Burr H. Proton Therapy Center, they kept their eyes on the prize. It was in the form of the shiny brass bell she would ring in eight weeks to signalize the end of her treatments.  

Little did she know that those visits would soon become solo as the COVID-19 pandemic would upset the daily routine of life at Mass General—and visitors would be prohibited. At that point—halfway through treatment—hospital staff and clinicians became even more critical, not only for Haskins’ medical care but as key members of her support system.

It was no surprise then when on April 8, her last day of proton treatment, it was Mass General staff who were there in place of her husband and other family and friends—surrounding her with love, cheers and celebratory well-wishes as she was finally able to ring that bell.

Susan Haskins rings the bell marking the end of her proton treatments.
Susan Haskins rings the bell marking the end of her proton treatments.