Cancer Survivor Nancy Whitaker: In 1965, 'My Life Changed Forever'

Jun 27, 2016

Cancer Survivor Nancy Whitaker: In 1965, 'My Life Changed Forever'

Posted by Cindy Hickey on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 - 1:43 PM in Patient Stories , Volunteers


There are more than 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States today, and Mercy Cancer Center is grateful to be a part of the advancements in cancer care that help people live longer, fuller lives after a cancer diagnosis.

canton ohio cancer survivor nancy whitaker - 1965 - ovarian cancer

Nancy Whitaker (front row, center) has been a Mercy volunteer for 28 years, the past 20 of which have been at the Mercy Surgery Center Information Desk. There was a time, however, when Nancy was not certain she would even get to enjoy another year, let alone three decades. 

She says, 

On June 1, 1965, my life changed forever. Ovarian cancer stepped in and took over our dream of having children. Larry and I had only been married seven months. My Mercy doctor helped me through 45 radiation treatments and experimental chemo pills. I am now a 51-year survivor! Thanks to faith, family and friends, here I am! We have a large extended family as well as my former students, so we did get those children in a different way, and my cancer never returned. I want you to remember to keep fighting! Never give up! May God Bless all of you!

Cancer survivors remind us each day that the work we do matters. We are grateful to them and their caregivers for allowing us to be a part of their journey. Because we realize that cancer forever leaves a mark on a person's life, we continue to strive to find ways to serve cancer survivors well after treatment has been completed. Cancer survivors may struggle with medical expenses, emotional struggles, strains on personal relationships, fear of cancer recurrence, and physical side effects of treatment. Mercy Cancer Center remains available to cancer survivors to help support them through these challenges.

One way that we hope to help cancer survivors is by providing a means of sharing the experiences of other survivors. In the coming months, Mercy Cancer Center will share stories of cancer survivors here at Mercy in order to celebrate their journeys and inspire hope in others. A special thank you to those survivors who shared their stories with us, as we realize that the cancer journey can be an intensely private and personal one.

About Cindy Hickey

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Cindy Hickey, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Mercy Medical Center, began working at Mercy Medical Center in 1982 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University. She serves on the advisory board of About magazine and is a graduate of the 21st Class of Leadership Stark County.


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