Celebrating the start of something new is important to many of us. Celebrating the completion of a phase or chapter in life is also important.The sounds that bells and gongs make are often thought to banish negative energy and to cleanse the aura. Ringing one can cleanse a space or person, or signal the start or end of something. Bells are often rung in ceremony, such as at the end or beginning of church, or during meditation. The vibrations affect the surrounding area and those that are there, lending a positive feeling of lightness and newness.
At many hospitals, once a patient has completed their chemo, radiation or proton therapy they are offered the option to ring a bell or strike a gong. At MD Anderson’s radiation treatment facilities in the Greater Houston area and in Albuquerque, N.M. they have a little plaque near their gong that patients get to hit after their last proton therapy treatment that says:
Ring this bell
Three times well
Its toll to clearly say,
My treatment’s done
This course is run
And I am on my way!
— Irve Le Moyne
The bells and gongs signal a return to balance in life, and the beginning of that patient’s life without cancer. Many hospitals within North America have adopted the tradition. Some patients simply give a little tap of the gong or bell, while other patients have many friends and family around as they signal the end of this phase and the beginning of the new. Some patients don’t feel the need to ring the bell, and quietly move from one chapter to the next with their loved ones behind them nonetheless.
Some bells and gongs are donated to hospitals by former cancer patients because they wish that they had the chance to ring out when they had completed their treatment.
Verolga Nix-Allen from Philadelphia had her bell ringing experience listed in her hospital’s newsletter, read the article below: