Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami sees more than 300 cancer patients a day for various forms of treatment. After watching her uncle, Michael, suffer the pain and anxiety of the cancer treatment process, Margaret Suppa, a hospital employee and Manager of Volunteer Programs, decided that the experience didn't need to be such a negative one. After much research and networking, Margaret, at the age of 26, soon developed a canine therapy program, the first of its kind for the cancer center. Certified therapy dogs now visit the center once a week visiting patients while they receive chemotherapy treatments. The program went live on April 5, 2012 and has already received overwhelming praise and expressions of gratitude from patients. "Brady is beautiful and brings me so much joy" exclaimed one patient regarding Brady, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The program will soon expand to the Pediatric Hematology clinic to ease the process for young patients from infants to teenagers as well as their families. Margaret has also brought music therapy to the hospital and currently manages an arts in medicine program as well. "There is no doubt that fighting cancer is a challenge, it's a long, arduous journey. I believe there is no better medicine than a positive environment in which to heal and that's what I aim to provide. By integrating music, art, and animals into cancer care, patients are happier and often forget how sick they are, even for just a few minutes" explains Ms. Suppa. Unfortunately, her uncle Michael, did not beat his disease passing away from colon cancer at the young age of 44 in 2008. While he is no longer here, his spirit lives on through the many programs that he inspired. Working a full-time at the hospital since she was 21, Margaret completed her Bachelor's degree at night and recently becoming the first in her family to earn a Master's degree with her MBA from Florida International University.
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