Actor Ed Begley Jr. Lends His Voice To Baystate’s Regional Cancer Program

SPRINGFIELD – A respected actor of stage, screen and television with ties to the Western Mass. area has lent his voice to inform area residents of the new, patient-centered approach to cancer care offered by the Baystate Regional Cancer Program.


Ed Begley Jr., perhaps best-known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich in the 1980’s hit television drama, St. Elsewhere, has narrated radio and television messages that spotlight the Baystate Regional Cancer Program’s unique approach to cancer care for patients and families through the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care in Springfield. The D’Amour Center for Cancer Care supports an integrated approach to cancer care – meaning when a patient is scheduled, a team of several clinicians visit with them during the same appointment.

Doctors from all cancer specialty areas work alongside each other, enhancing communication and convenience, and partnering with patients on the best choices available for them.

“When Ed, who is well-known for devoting his time and talents to support causes close to his heart, learned from his sister Allene, who lives in the area, about the groundbreaking approach to cancer care at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, he eagerly lent his support and talent to our campaign,” said Suzanne Hendery, director of Marketing for Baystate Health System.

“We were all so impressed with the valuable gift Mr. Begley Jr., provided to us of his time and extraordinary talent, all wrapped up with his very humble and generous spirit.”

The D’Amour Center for Cancer Care has unique architectural and design elements to create a feeling of comfort and a connection to nature. Expansive windows, skylights and translucent glass panels along the ceiling and floor allow sunlight to stream into the building, bringing with it the positive physical and psychological effects of natural light. Infusion patients were consulted to select color schemes that appealed to them as they were undergoing treatment and attention has been given to the use of ecologically friendly materials. Patients experience soft music, living room-like care areas — one even has a fireplace — and exam and consult rooms that are inviting and comfortable.

Since receiving six Emmy nominations for his work on the St. Elsewhere television series, Begley has moved easily between feature, television and theater projects. He appeared recently in A Mighty Wind, a follow-up to the American Comedy Award-winning film, Best In Show, with Christopher Guest, Catherine O’Hara and Parker Posey. His other feature film credits include Batman Forever, Greedy, The Accidental Tourist, She-Devil and The In-Laws.

On television, Begley completed a new pilot called True starring Anne Heche for the WB network. He can also be seen in recurring roles on Jack & Bobby, Six Feet Under and 7th Heaven. He also guest starred in such series as The West Wing, The Practice, The Drew Carey Show, Touched by an Angel, and Providence.
Begley also starred in the West Coast premiere of David Mamet’s Cryptogram, at the Geffen Playhouse, in the role that he originated in Boston and then New York.

“I was happy to do it,” said Begley about lending his talent and voice to these new messages for the Baystate Regional Cancer Program. “Baystate is providing the type of care we all would want when faced with a diagnosis of cancer.”

Begley applauded the Baystate Regi-onal Cancer Program’s patient-centered approach to care and for “actively involving patients in the redesign of its care.”
“It’s pretty amazing what they’ve done to advance the treatment of cancer right in the backyards of patients in Western Mass.,” said Begley. “They have built the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care totally around the needs of patients and families.”

“Caregivers at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program recognize patients as individuals, each with unique challenges, and I am impressed that they didn’t just build a building, but completely redesigned the way they care for patients,” he added.

An environmental leader in the Hollywood community for many years, Begley’s work on behalf of the environment has earned him a number of awards from some of the most prestigious environmental groups in the nation.

“Ed has a greater sense of social obligation than anyone I know. He’s like a West Coast cadet who gets up every morning and says ‘reporting for duty,’” says his long-time friend and environmental lawyer Bobby Kennedy Jr. Dr. Wilson Mertens, medical director, Baystate Regional Cancer Program, said he and his colleagues are aware of Begley’s longstanding contributions to the community and the environment, and are “very grateful for his work on behalf of patients and families in Western Mass., and helping elevate the work of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, and cancer care providers to a national level.”

“It is clear that Mr. Begley recognizes that Baystate is one of the first cancer programs in the country to join with cancer patients, survivors, donors and advocacy groups to create a physical, emotional, clinical and spiritual environment that delivers the best possible experience to patients and their families,” Mertens said.

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