ProtonPals is a support and outreach organization for people considering proton therapy treatment, patients of the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center and their family members.
This group offers patients opportunities to meet and discuss proton treatment-related topics and form lasting friendships with those sharing similar experiences. Our goal is to provide patients with a community, and support and opportunities to connect with past and present proton therapy patients at MD Anderson.
By having this support system, those undergoing and completing treatment have a way to stay connected through their journey and be an encouragement to the newly diagnosed. Hearing personal experiences from those that have been there along with sharing similar experiences ease the anxieties and stressors that go along with cancer treatment. Forming friends that last a lifetime is part of what makes the ProtonPals group so special to so many.
Our ProtonPal Leaders
In 2006, after being patients at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, fellow patients created ProtonPals to offer support and guidance to newly diagnosed patients. The founders of this group were: John Barna Lloyd, Ben Capron, Joe Landry, Peter Taaffe, Dave Stevens and Drew Cox.
Our ProtonPal Leaders volunteer to attend weekly dinners and lunches with patients receiving treatment at the Proton Therapy Center. They help provide patients with their personal experiences of how the proton therapy treatment process works, things to do in Houston while here for treatment and the patient resources that are available.
Many of the ProtonPals have become lasting friends and remain in touch with other new patients even after their treatment.
Co-hosting the ProtonPals weekly events is our opportunity to pay back and to pay it forward.
Judy Johnston & Curtis Courington
Connect With Others
You don’t have to face cancer alone, even while social distancing. Learn how to connect with other cancer survivors and caregivers through myCancerConnection, our one-on-one cancer support community.
To be matched with someone based on diagnosis, treatment, or other related cancer experiences, use MyChart to request a match with a survivor or caregiver volunteer.
Looking to give support? Volunteers have an opportunity to share hope and caring with others because the best help often comes from someone who's been there. Support others by sharing experiences to provide hope as a trained phone volunteer.
View our full range of patient resources
available as part of our interdisciplinary team.
Virtual Lunch & Learn Sessions
Lunch & Learn is designed for
patients, caregivers, volunteers and employees to hear the latest news
and information related to cancer from MD Anderson experts. It’s also
a good chance for patients and caregivers to connect with
Young Adult Resources
MD Anderson in collaboration with Dan's House of Hope is hosting virtual programs for young adult patients and caregivers. Session will be held through Zoom.
Ask a Question
Need more information?
Speak to one of our proton therapy specialists at 1-844-318-3423.
Squamous cell carcinoma survivor Marc O'Connor shares his proton therapy experience
When Marc O'Connor was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, he came to MD Anderson Cancer Center for proton therapy. In this video, Marc describes his experience receiving treatment at MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. Request an appointment at MD Anderson by calling 1-877-632-6789 or online: https://my.mdanderson.org/requestappointment
After salivary gland cancer treatment, Mark Rolfing reflects on MD Anderson
Mark Rolfing was diagnosed with stage IV salivary gland cancer in August 2015. As a television golf analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel, Mark reflects on the multidisciplinary care that he received at MD Anderson, where teams of specialists care for patients from cancer diagnosis to treatment and beyond. To learn more about Mark’s journey, visit: https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/cancerwise/stage-iv-salivary-gland-cancer-survivor-PGA-TOUR-golf-commentator-Mark-Rolfing--how-proton-therapy-saved-my-career.h00-159299889.html. Request an appointment at MD Anderson by calling 1-877-632-6789 or online: my.mdanderson.org/requestappointment.
Why we chose proton therapy for pediatric cancer treatment
After several nights of waking up crying, the parents of two-year-old Sawyer Hack realized something was wrong. Sawyer had swelling and pain on the left side of his face. After visits to his pediatric dentist and a hospital, he underwent a biopsy in November 2016. That's how doctors discovered rhabdomyosarcoma on Sawyer’s left jawbone. Rhabdomyosarcoma typically develops in the skeletal muscles, which are used by the body to control body movements. Because the tumor was inoperable and quickly growing, doctors recommended chemotherapy followed by radiation treatment. Instead of conventional radiation, doctors recommended proton therapy at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center to treat Sawyer’s tumor. “Proton therapy was able to target the tumor in Sawyer’s jaw and save sensitive tissue such as his eyes and ears” Sawyer’s dad says. “It was a clear that proton therapy was the best decision.” Learn about MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center: https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/care-centers-clinics/proton-therapy-center.html. Request an appointment at MD Anderson by calling 1-877-632-6789 or online: https://my.mdanderson.org/RequestAppointment.
8 things I learned as a pediatric cancer caregiver
At age 2, Amanda Hack’s son, Sawyer, spent almost a full year undergoing treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma. She shares things that helped her navigate the journey.
Paying it forward after proton therapy treatment
"By being a co-leader of the ProtonPals patient support group, I am glad to help others in their journey with treatment and healing."
Two-time cancer survivor Jennifer Grant
"I kept going to swim meets on Saturdays with my kids in the Houston summer heat after a full week of treatment. I didn't miss out on life."
Cancer-free since 2011: Why I chose proton therapy
"With proton therapy radiation, doctors can control where it hits, unlike traditional radiation where it comes out through the other side of my body."
Medulloblastoma cancer survivor Owen Langston
"Owen’s age was a huge factor in determining what type of radiation we wanted to use. Proton therapy was so focused that it was the best solution to prevent long-term side effects."
Treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic
"MD Anderson's pathologists reviewed my biopsy and found that it showed more aggressive than we’d initially thought."
Due to our response to COVID-19, all blood donations at MD Anderson
Blood Donor Center locations are being held by appointment only.