Monongahela Valley Hospital Cancer Patients Ring in Wellness

(January 6, 2016 - Carroll Township, Pa.)

Monongahela Valley Hospital Cancer Patients Ring in Wellness photo
(l to r) Debbie Burkhardt, director of radiation oncology; Laurie Chester; and Marcie Moessner, radiation therapist, pose with the displayed artwork, created at the paint and sip fundraiser and the donated bell.
Monongahela Valley Hospital (MVH) cancer patients can truly "ring" in the New Year thanks to Mrs. Chester, a two-time breast cancer survivor, former MVH cancer patient and current MVH employee.

Recently, Mrs. Chester donated two plaque-mounted bells which are hung in the Charles L. and Rose Sweeney Melenyzer Pavilion and Regional Cancer Center's Mon-Vale Radiation Oncology, LLC and Mon-Vale Oncology suites. The bells welcome a celebratory ring by MVH cancer patients upon completion of their treatments.

"I wanted to donate something that I felt would encourage and inspire hope in all of the MVH cancer patients," said Mrs. Chester, "I had heard of other cancer treatment facilities using bells to celebrate treatment completion and really liked the idea. I am touched in knowing that through the bell, I will be a part of each MVH cancer patient's final treatment celebration."

Mrs. Chester was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time by way of an annual mammogram, her very first mammogram. She was treated at MVH and her cancer went into remission. Seven years after she was first diagnosed, the cancer returned. It was discovered once again through an annual mammogram. Mrs. Chester received radiation treatments, oral medications and multiple surgeries during her fights.

"After being diagnosed, fear takes over and you are faced with tough decisions, but all of the employees are wonderful," said Mrs. Chester. "Everyone I met - from diagnosis to treatment completion and beyond - carried me through my journey and helped me to maintain a level of comfort beyond explanation. They held my hand and cried with me when I was most afraid and made me feel as if I was their only patient. Every one became an extension of my family. I feel so blessed."

The funds for the bells were raised through a sold-out paint and sip event, hosted by Mrs. Chester with the assistance of many friends she has made throughout her cancer journey. She plans to continue her efforts to help raise funds to provide supplemental transportation for MVH cancer patients who have no other means to get back and forth for their treatments.

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