Cancer Survivors Celebrated by Local Hospital

Vandervorrt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, and a year later with non–Hodgkin's lymphoma in her cheek.

WEST FARGO, N.D.–Essentia is hosting its 5th annual celebration for cancer survivors.

“It would be very hard to face this alone,” says cancer survivor Rhoda Vander Voort. 

Vander voort was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, and a year later with non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma in her cheek.

“With anyone who has had cancer, there is that apprehension what might the future bring? Each of the diagnoses was a surprise to me and I was not expecting that I would be dealing with it but here I am,” Vander voort said.

She is not alone in her fears.

“A cancer diagnosis is a really scary thing to receive,” said Pam Gahr, from Essentia Health. “It stays with you your whole life, and it also affects all of those around you. Personally, I’ve gone through a cancer diagnosis with my father and my husband and it’s different every time, but everybody knows that it’s a time to support each other.”

Both doctors and patients say having a support system is an important part of the process.

“Family, friends, church members, and the cancer support group. It’s given us a chance to talk about what the experience has been,” added Vander voort.

“Some people really need that; they really need to hear what other people have gone through,” said Dr. Joni Buechler-Price, Radiation Oncologist at Essentia Cancer Center.

“Our mind and our body are connected, and when you feel supported your body knows that and can heal better, I really truly believe that. I think having the support and knowing that people care about you and want to celebrate your life is really important,” added Gahr.

It’s about celebrating the life they have with the people they have.

“I have grandsons who are 13 and 11 and I want to be around and spend time with them and I have more things that I want to do in my lifetime yet as well,” added Vander voort.

The event was open to anyone who has been affected by cancer, whether they have been diagnosed or not.

Categories: Health, Local News, North Dakota News