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Surviving Cancer in the Midst of COVID 19 June 4, 2020

Deborah Gortney

Texarkana, Texas – The W. Temple Webber Cancer Center at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System is celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day differently this year. Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to postpone or cancel public events, the Cancer Center will not host an in-person event this year – but still encourages our community to celebrate cancer patients and those who care for them this Sunday, June 7, 2020, for National Cancer Survivor Day.

“A survivor by dictionary definition is a person who survives – one who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship or setbacks. At the initial time of diagnosis, you become a survivor,” said Charlotte McKamie, director, W. Temple Webber Cancer Center at CHRISTUS St. Michael. “In the midst of this global pandemic, many of these survivors are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and have experienced a heightened since of anxiety.”

Deborah Gortney started cancer treatment not long before the pandemic hit, but she didn’t let fear control her or her outlook.

“God puts everything on us for a reason,” shared Deborah. “I lost my mother to cancer when I was 10 years old. She was only 29. So, as you can imagine, the initial cancer diagnosis alone is what scared me the most.”

After completing her radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Deborah proudly rang the survival bell … in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The support of my family and the staff at the W. Temple Webber Cancer Center really made it easier to cope,” Deborah shared. “Had it not been for them, the entire experience would have been so much harder.”

“Fighting cancer is truly a battle shared by everyone: the patients, their family, their community,” shared Charlotte. “Every person here is proud and honored to be a member of that team, and we are blessed to be able to serve this community and those impacted by cancer through extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”