Cancer survivors recognized

NILES – For 52 years, Lynn Barnes of Cortland has survived bone cancer in his leg and today works and lives an active life despite what he faced at age 19 in 1961.

Barnes and more than 170 other cancer survivors were recognized by Humility of Mary Health Partners Cancer Centers at the annual summer picnic held at McMenamy’s Banquet Center in Niles.

Barnes was the longest cancer survivor at the event, with many others having survived 20 or 30 years.

“Events like this let me meet other cancer survivors and hear their stories,” he said.

Vanessa Chamberlain, oncology coordinator with Humility of Mary Health Partners, said the picnic included dancing, bingo, an auction and a meal.

Deonne Petrosky of Niles, a cancer survivor and phlebotomist, shared her story of being a cancer survivor and now works for the cancer center helping others, she said.

“She is very dedicated to the cancer center and those who go there,” Chamberlain said.

The picnic lets survivors and staff to mingle outside the cancer center and also for cancer survivors to be with one another, she said.

“Even after our patients complete their treatment, we continue to be in touch with them and have an active part of their lives. Research has shown the oncology patients do better when in contact with the staff and are more likely to call is they have issues,” she said.

Petrosky said she wanted to share her story and also hear from other cancer patients.

She said when she had cancer she was treated kindly and wanted to return that kindness by working as a phlebotomistt.

“When patients come here, I can understand what their concerns are and what they are going through having been through it myself. I let them know I went through cancer and survived. I am letting them know I am here for them,” Petrosky said.

She said she sometimes feels that she gets more from the patients then she gives them.

“They help make me feel good,” Petrosky said.