Cancer Awareness Month: Two NDA Survivors Share Their Stories

Cancer Awareness Month: Two NDA Survivors Share Their Stories

Hannah Vanden Heuvel, Staff Writer, Journalism I

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), around 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

But the number of people impacted by cancer reaches to even higher numbers.

The past of many’s encounters with cancer may often be overlooked or rather unknown, but still hold the possibility to be a large part of a classmate’s or teacher’s life story.

“I grew to a new level in my faith journey, and I sometimes think it was God’s way of telling me to pay attention,” said Mrs. Joey Rickards, the joyful face of the attendance office.

Rickards has been been affected by cancer, sadly, in a variety of forms.

Rickards’ mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2010.

Two months after her mother finished her final chemo treatment, Rickards herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Rickards had stage 2 non-invasive ductal and invasive lobular breast cancer which spread into her lymph nodes.

At the same time she was diagnosed, her childhood friend was also diagnosed.

Rickards’ friend lost her battle a few years ago.

“So many don’t win the battle,” she said. “I feel fortunate and lucky to have beaten cancer.”

Then there’s freshman Bryce Kane.

“It felt so good to beat cancer! It meant the world to be told that there was no longer any trace of cancer in my body. If you have ever felt joy, to be cancer free is 10x better than all of that joy combined,” said Kane.

Kane was diagnosed with stage 2B melanoma skin cancer when he was eight years old.

He recognized a tender bump on his back while doing sit-ups in gym class.

His parents also noticed the bump and wanted to get it checked.

Within the next two weeks, Kane would have an appointment with a dermatologist, have the bump ordered to be removed, and be told he had melanoma skin cancer.

“This meant tons of tests, doctor visits, shots, scans, IV’s, etc.” said Kane.

He fortunately did not need to undergo chemotherapy, but did have to have surgery and keep a fluid drain tube in his side for about two months.

Rickards and Kane both have participated in cancer awareness events and fundraisers.

Rickards has participated in the local Breast Cancer Walk as well as a few Breast Cancer Awareness Triathlons and Mud Runs.

Kane’s family participates in the annual Jerry Parins Cruise for Cancer at Vandervest Harley Davidson as well as other motorcycle benefit rides.

To help those and the families facing cancer, Rickards suggested volunteering.

“Help with yard work, cook a meal, grocery shop, or drive someone to their therapy appointment. Chemo treatments can be long and boring, so having someone to talk to makes the time go by so much faster. Make a treatment bag for someone that includes a magazine or book, hard candies, socks and a blanket,” said Rickards.

If not aware or comfortable enough to volunteer directly, an abundance of organizations and fundraisers help fund cancer research and provide assistance for patients’ medical fees.

According to NCI, costs are expected to continue to increase as more expensive and new treatments are adopted more and more frequently.

Kane shared his family is still having to pay off medical bills in small increments even though he is five years cancer free.

Donating is an easy and frequent suggestion to support the many battles against cancer.

As the NDA Sting Cancer Club is still in the process of being rebooted, be more aware of GoFundMe pages shared, local fundraisers and donation buckets around town that you may have the opportunity to donate to.

As for those battling, Kane encouraged, “Stay strong. Never give up hope over anything you do. Believe in yourself and never let go.”