WARREN - Hearing the word cancer has turned many lives around in devastating ways.
But Austintown's Patricia Grolemund said hearing the diagnosis three years ago instead encouraged her to take control of her life.
"Hearing the diagnosis was heart wrenching, but I felt that remission was achievable,'' Grolemund said at a cancer survivor's event in Warren Sunday. ''From the moment of my diagnosis until I had my first surgery, until I had my first chemotherapy treatment, I wanted to be in control. I wanted to assist the team in making me better.''
Dr. Robert Brodell encourages patients
Grolemund spoke at the Trumbull Memorial Hospital Cancer Survivorship Day at Lincoln K-8 School in Warren.
Dozens of cancer survivors and their families attended the 22nd annual event that included a butterfly release.
Dr. Robert Brodell, a Warren-area dermatologist active with the American Cancer Society and the Warren Relay for Life, became involved with the American Cancer Society 26 years ago at the suggestion of his mother, who told him that he needed to become involved in something in the community when he returned home.
Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith
Fred Boughner releases butterflies during Trumbull Memorial Hospital’s 22nd annual survivors program held Sunday at Lincoln K-8 School in Warren. Boughner is a four-year survivor of lung cancer.
Brodell emphasized survivorship is not just a physical situation, but rather it has a mental aspect to it.
"There are approaches that survivors can take to help them cope that makes them truly heroic in their approach to their diseases," he said. "The physical thing is they happen to have cancer and they happen to be living. The mental approach is how they cope.
"Survivors truly become heroes to themselves, their families and to the public because of the way they deal with their diseases," Brodell said.
To cope, cancer survivors on Sunday spoke about how the disease brought them closer to God, being educated and using laughter.
Stanley Raphoon of Cortland decided to fight his cancer by becoming the hospital clown.
"I had no idea about the life changing experience I was going through," he said. "I was not going to allow cancer to defeat me."
"Laughter help me get through it," he said.
A two year survivor, Raphoon said every day he is alive is a victory.
Lori Sylvester, vice president of Trumbull Memorial Hospital's Outpatient services said there are more than 11 million cancer survivors in the United States and by 2020 there will be an estimated 20 million survivors.
One in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with some form of cancer.
Both Fred Boughner and his wife, Arlene, were diagnosed with cancer. Fred with lung cancer four years ago and Arlene with breast cancer about two years ago.
"I learned that we are stronger than we ever imagined ourselves to be," Fred said.
"And," she added, "Life is short."
They both were very happy to be at Sunday's butterfly release.
"I'm very lucky to be alive," Fred said. "My cancer was caught when they were doing an x-ray. This has taught me to be very appreciative of every day. You learn to enjoy even the bad days."
"Life is short," she said. "It is shorter than you think. Enjoy it. I didn't smoke, drink and I never missed a monogram."
"Somehow I still got it," she said. "Enjoy life. Enjoy your family and friends."