From the gardens to the skybridge to our leading doctors and kind volunteers, there are many things that set MD Anderson apart and help our patients feel at home.
Whether it's your first appointment or you've become an old pro, you're likely to appreciate these 17 unique features.
1. Our 69 aquariums. The 66 freshwater and three saltwater live coral reef aquariums in our clinics are home to 3,000 fish -- mostly cichlids, angelfish and rainbow fish. The largest freshwater aquarium, by the Pharmacy in the Main Building, holds 850 gallons.
2. The Observation Deck. Located on the 24th Floor of the Main Building, the Observation Deck offers peace and quiet, as well as a scenic view of Houston. You're also welcome to play the piano up there.
3. Our volunteers. MD Anderson is fortunate to have more than 1,200 volunteers who contributed 193,921 hours of service last year. Stop by our Hospitality Centers for a cup of coffee and to visit with these caring individuals, many of whom are survivors or caregivers themselves.
4. Our pianos. Twenty-five of our volunteers play the piano in The Park and the Mays Clinic between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. They also play at the Rotary House each day. If you're lucky, you may hear our harpist or one of our two flautists as well.
5. Room service. Inpatients -- as well as their families, caregivers and friends -- can order whatever they want from room service each day from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Our classically trained senior executive chef comes up with the menu of fresh, cooked-to-order meals.
6. Our employee choir. Music-loving MD Anderson employees sing carols throughout the hospital each December, bringing cheer to our patients and their families.
7. Our Integrative Medicine Center. At MD Anderson, we don't just treat cancer. Our Integrative Medicine team focuses on the social, mind-spirit and physical aspects of your health by offering acupuncture, music therapy, nutrition services, oncology massage, yoga and fitness classes and more.
8. Our dedication to helping patients cope with body changes. Our Body Image Therapy Service, available to those treated in the Center for Reconstructive Surgery and the Head and Neck Center, provides personalized treatment plans to help patients become more accepting of body changes and get back to doing the activities they love.
Our Beauty/Barber Shop also offers free hair and head care services, including haircuts and help with wigs and scarves. And, you can find breast prostheses, bras, clothing, head coverings and informational materials at Appearances in Mays Clinic.
9. Our gardens. The carefully manicured parks, gardens and green spaces throughout our campus are designed to promote healing. Volunteers even cut flowers from the rose garden outside the Main Building and deliver them to patients' rooms.
10. The Children's Art Project. If you've visited our gift shops, you've probably seen the work of the Children's Art Project, which sells scarves, mugs, greeting cards and other products featuring our pediatric patients' artwork. All proceeds fund programs that bring our youngest patients hope, normalcy and a promising future.
11. Our internationally renowned experts. Our faculty includes hundreds of stars, many of whom are leaders in the scientific community. Among them are nine members of the Institute of Medicine, three members of the National Academy of Sciences, and four Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows.
12. Our Moon Shots Program. Two years ago, we launched our Moon Shots Program to quickly improve survival rates for many of the deadliest cancers. This innovative approach accelerates the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances and attacks cancer from every angle, including prevention, early detection, treatment and survival.
14. Our Tobacco Treatment Program. Studies show that tobacco use before, during and after cancer treatment could affect cell growth and hinder the effectiveness of cancer treatment. To help our patients quit smoking and using tobacco, we offer the Tobacco Treatment Program. The program is available to all patients at no additional cost; some family members may also be eligible. Ask your MD Anderson doctor for a referral.
15. The nation's largest clinical trial program. New and better cancer treatments rely on clinical trials, and bringing these trials to our patients is our passion. We meticulously design, review and monitor our clinical trials, so we can better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. And, we do offer more trials than anyplace else. We also are fortunate to rank first in grant dollars from the National Cancer Institute.
16. The bells and whistles. The tradition of ringing a bell at the end of cancer treatment started here in 1996, when U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Irve Le Moyne, a head and neck cancer patient, donated a brass bell to the main campus Radiation Treatment Center. Patients who finish treatment at our Proton Therapy Center bang a gong to symbolize a return to balance in life.
Our patients and their families show incredible hope and strength, and that's what inspires us every day. You're the reason we're working so hard to end cancer.