Admitted to Shands at the University of Florida in October 2009 for acute myelogenous leukemia, Richard Laucks, M.D., valued the help and support he found through Shands at UF chaplain Alan Bower’s daily Catholic Mass. Dr. Laucks passed away in January 2010, but he, his wife and Father Bower left a lasting legacy at Shands at UF.
During his inpatient treatments, Dr. Laucks and his wife, Cheryl Laucks, would walk to the chapel or Father Bower would visit them almost every day. However, when Dr. Laucks became too sick to leave his room, his spiritual needs were hindered.
Laucks, a former ear, nose and throat surgeon at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville, wanted to view the hospital’s Mass on TV while he remained in his patient room. He was disappointed to learn that Shands did not offer this service. Dr. Laucks and his wife decided they wanted to change this. They spoke with Father Bower and together agreed to find a way to address this need.
After Dr. Laucks passed, Cheryl and Father Bower worked with the Shands Office of Development to implement the idea. In memory of Dr. Laucks, donations to this project were received in lieu of flowers. Because of Dr. Laucks, Cheryl and Father Bower a Catholic channel available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for patients in all of their rooms will become a reality in November. Cheryl said her hope is to offer other denominations in the future.