Six named 2019 Cancer Survivor Heroes

#

Springfield resident Chris Thibault, a stage 4 breast cancer survivor, is among those being honored at Survivor Journeys' Nov. 21 benefit, “Celebrating Cancer Heroes.” (Submitted file photo)

By Anne-Gerard Flynn | Special to The Republican

Six cancer survivors, including two Springfield residents, will be honored Thursday, Nov. 21, as 2019 Cancer Survivor Heroes during an inaugural fund-raising event for a Western Massachusetts nonprofit founded several years ago by a cancer survivor.

The upcoming catered event that begins at 6 p.m. at Monticello, 732 Hall Hill Road in Somers, Conn.,, is a benefit for Survivor Journeys and replaces its annual Halloween gala.

Founded by Dr. Jay Burton, a survivor of acute myeloid leukemia and a primary care physician based in Enfield with Springfield Medical Associates, the nonprofit provides a variety of free services and programs to cancer survivors.

Burton said its new fund-raiser, “Celebrating Cancer Heroes,” drew a large response in its request for nominations.

Tickets for the event are $85 per person and $25 for individuals 18 and under. They can be purchase online and information is also available by calling (413) 276-6100.

Those being honored are listed below with a brief biography provided by Survivor Journeys:

Luke Bradley of South Hadley is a 14-year-old, three-time survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia which was first diagnosed at age 6. During his first recurrence he developed bacterial meningitis that resulted in seizures and multiple neurological impairments, resuscitations and neurosurgeries as well as a long rehabilitation process. His second recurrence required a bone marrow transplant in December 2017, with his father, Ryan, being the donor. After a nine-month quarantine, he was able to begin high school. He prefers to focus on the present and the future to further make his mark on the world.

Liz Wilson Greer of Springfield was diagnosed a number of years ago with soft tissue sarcoma called solitary fibrous tumors and is on her fourth recurrence. A graduate of UMass-Amherst who traveled the country as an esthetician and makeup artist for Chanel, she has undergone six different treatments as well as major surgeries to get rid of the tumors. She said her “numerous bouts with cancer have taken a great deal from me physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” but that she refuses to “let cancer steal my life, my hope, or any more of my dreams” which include finishing her music degree and becoming a musician. She added that she wants “to live to give hope to other rare sarcoma patients.”

Candy Oyler of Longmeadow is a two-time cancer survivor - osteosarcoma at age 14 and breast cancer at age 43 - who has persevered and thrived despite complications including a leg amputation as a teenager and a heart transplant at age 57. She has volunteered extensively for the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other cancer-related organizations.

Heidi Huhn-Partain of Suffield, Conn. is a lung cancer survivor, among the increasing number of non-smokers being diagnosed with this disease. After a lung resection and chemotherapy, she has been cancer free for four years. Her drive to help others began before her cancer diagnosis when she started BrightStar Care of Hartford, a home health care company providing home care, caregiving, and medical staffing solutions to families, and businesses on a 24/7 basis. She is also a religious education teacher and Rotary International member. She has been a supporter and volunteer for Survivor Journeys and the American Lung Association.

Meghan Rothschild of Northampton was diagnosed with stage 2 malignant melanoma in college. She has been an advocate, speaking about life-threatening damage of tanning. Her messages have appeared in print, television and social media. She is a spokesperson for Impact Melanoma. She founded Chikmedia, a public relations and marketing firm with an emphasis on female-run organizations and women business owners.

Chris Thibault of Springfield is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor. He has undergone multiple forms of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, as well as complementary therapies. Since his diagnosis, he has started a podcast and blog that document his cancer journey, his frustrations, and his life as a husband, father, and friend. His positive attitude and dedication to his craft and family are a continuing inspiration to everyone he touches. He and his wife Missy are known for their production company, Chris Teebo Films.

 

See the full article on MassLive