Beaumont center for youths with cancer, blood disorders opens after renovation

By: Sherri Kolade | Royal Oak Review | Published November 17, 2017

 Justin Alexander, of Rochester Hills, left, chats with Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Chief Kate Gowans recently at the new Skandalaris Family Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Justin Alexander, of Rochester Hills, left, chats with Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Chief Kate Gowans recently at the new Skandalaris Family Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Photo provided by Bob Ortlieb

ROYAL OAK — Beyond the twists and turns of the hallways at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, you will find the new Skandalaris Family Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders, where children and young adults come to heal.

The 9,130-square-foot center, which reopened at an expanded, new location more than four weeks ago, provides support for infants to adults up to 24 years old.

Beaumont’s Skandalaris Family Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders doubles the size of the hospital’s pediatric hematology/oncology outpatient clinic, which formerly was on another floor of the hospital.

With plenty of natural light, décor taken from Michigan nature and private amenities, comfort is at the center of its design.

“A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and frightening to the patients and their families. But Beaumont’s team of experts arms patients and families with the information they need to feel more secure for the battle ahead. Then they all work together to fight the cancer,” Dr. Kate Gowans, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at the center, said in a press release. “We have so many innovative treatment options today, and we are excited to offer them in our new clinic. I hope the bright, airy, inviting space will make families feel comfortable while they’re here.”

The center, which treats cancer, blood disorders and tumors that may have occurred due to an underlying condition, supports patients with oncology-certified nurses, pediatric oncology pharmacists, certified child life specialists to reduce anxiety, educational liaisons and nutrition experts, according to the press release.

“There is nothing we don’t take care of,” Gowans said, adding that they see a lot of children for bleeding and benign blood disorders.

Julie and Bob Skandalaris, of Clarkston, were motivated to donate to the center due to the experiences of a family member who lost a brother to childhood cancer, according to the press release.

Dan Gilbert — Quicken Loans/Rock Ventures founder and chairman — and his wife, Jennifer Gilbert, of Franklin, also donated.

They funded the creation of the Gilbert Family Adolescent and Young Adult Program, according to a press release. The multidisciplinary program, housed at the new center, offers medical specialists, psychosocial services, financial counseling, and academic and mentor support for youths and young adults ages 12 to 24, the release states.

“Money is spent on cancer, but not enough on pediatric cancer,” Bob Skandalaris said. “We want Beaumont’s pediatric cancer team to have all the resources they need for patients and their families.”

The new center features seven exam rooms, a private family consultation room, a family pantry, a shared infusion area and four private infusion rooms for patients, the release says. The center also offers access to proton therapy treatment, located in the same building.

“Proton therapy offers the greatest benefit to younger cancer patients, whose growing bodies are more vulnerable to the side effects of traditional radiation therapy,” Gowans said. “Proton therapy allows for even more precision than before, without affecting nearby organs.”

Gowans said during a phone interview that the response to the upgraded facility has been good.

“I think, so far, everybody is loving it. It is incredibly spacious compared to what we have been in for the last many years,” she said, adding that the expanded space offers more privacy, a less stressful environment and more. “This is a very calming environment.”

Gowans added that on a busy day, the center sees about 20-25 patients, and some come in multiple times a week for hours at a time.

“So when you average it out over time, it probably is something like 15-20 visits per day,” she said, adding that much larger adult centers can see about 60 people a day.

She said that the décor was a team effort, because one patient’s family member brought several Himalayan salt lamps for the private infusion rooms “for a nice calming feel.”

Gowans added that there are some children and families who must endure a very difficult medical journey, and with all the stressors that go along with that, the center’s calming aura and relaxing space could help them on that journey.


“(We) provide what we consider to be very family-oriented care during what is otherwise an extremely frightening time; I think any patient, or family, would be pleased to spend time in our space.”

For more information, go to www.beaumont.org.