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The Players surprises UF Health with $50K gift, patient shuttle

14-passenger van will help transport patients to and from appointments

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Robert Davis knows better than most what it’s like to depend on other people. Davis, a cancer survivor, relied on medical staff at UF Health Jacksonville to get him through radiation therapy earlier this year.

That's why Davis is thrilled that The Players decided to donate $50,000 and a brand new patient shuttle to UF Health. The Players' volunteer organization, the Red Coats, also donated $5,000 to the hospital's proton therapy institute.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses protons, or positively charged particles, rather than traditional X-rays to treat cancer.

“I’m living proof of what it does and it can do,” said Davis of the care he received at UF Health.

The Red Coats presented the hospital with the donations on Tuesday. In addition to the financial gift, the 14-passenger van will help make things easier on patients undergoing continuing care, said Stuart Klein, executive director for the institute.

“A lot of (patients) are here for two or three months, so they are living in Jacksonville for that period of time, and they need to be transported between the Ronald McDonald House or back to the hotels and transported for treatment,” Klein said.

CEO Leon Haley said the financial grant will help UF Health continue to provide top-notch care to the more than 600,000 patients seen by the hospital's physicians each year.

“We’ve been granted $50,000 from The Players to support simulation equipment that allows our doctors and nurses to practice on a mannequin with high impact cardio disease,” he said. “And then when they operate on a patient, they will be well-trained.”

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.