Cancer survivors gather to celebrate life

Local News
You have cancer.  It’s the words no person ever wants to here, but it was the diagnosis in 2014 that changed Pam Russell’s life forever.

Pam russell, cancer survivor
“In like two weeks,  I had everything mapped out in my head that I wasn’t going to make it because my type of cancer wasn’t normal for women,” said Pam Russell, a cancer survivor.

As horrifying as her diagnosis was to hear, she knew she had a make a choice.

Pam russell, cancer survivor
“I woke up one morning and I thought no, I am not doing this.  Cancer took control of my life for two weeks, I’m turning it around and I’m kicking it,” said Russell.

Russell said that if it weren’t for the medical staff at UPMC Altoona,  she wouldn’t be celebrating with her fellow cancer survivors at Delgrosso’s Amusement Park today.

“This is our third year doing it.  We have about 1,600 people here at this today.  It’s just a nice environment where people can just come and relax and really celebrate where they are with their disease,” said Ron McConnell, Chief Operating Officer at UPMC Altoona.

The event provides an important opportunity for anyone who has been affected by cancer to come out to the park to enjoy a day of fun with eachother’s support and company.  Anyone could pre-register for the event online which included a meal, a goodie bag, and the chance to talk with hundreds of other people who have been affected by this disease.

Some of the doctors from UPMC Altoona even came to show their support.

“It’s an opportunity for us to just be able to celebrate these people’s lives a little bit more.  Cancer diagnosis’ are one of those diagnosis’ that you will carry for the rest of your life, however long that will be,” said Dr. Grant Hormell of UPMC Altoona.

Russell says it’s events like this that show how much the people at UPMC truly care.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of people,” said Russell.
 

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