Two individuals who have become perennials on the annual telethon of the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society were honored by the organization last evening.
Vocalists Angela Nardini and Frederick Douglas were recipients of the Patricia Haughton Awards. The awards are named after the late Patricia Haughton, who helped to organize the first telethon 30 years ago and remained active in it until her death early last year.
Two other awards were also presented last night, during the annual banquet held in the Lansford Amvets Post.
The Carbon Career and Technical Institute was presented with the Senator James J. Rhoades Award for Outstanding School Participation.
Crusaders for a Cause of Palmerton got the award for Volunteer Fundraisers of the Year.
The guest speaker during the banquet was Tom Clark, chief meteorologist of WNEP-TV, Channel 16, Scranton. Clark, a cancer survivor, told about his battle with prostate cancer and how early detection was a key to winning.
The Patricia Haughton Awards are presented to individuals for "Exceptional Service." The award is designed to recognize a group or individual whose exceptional contributions to the telethon extended over several years.
This year's telethon is scheduled for April 10 and 11 on Blue Ridge Communications TV-13. Both Nardini and Douglas are included on this year's line-up of entertainment.
Nardini was presented with her plaque by Peggy Zimmerman, who has been with the telethon since its inception in 1980.
She told the award recipient, "Angela. You grew up on the telethon."
She told Nardini, "You sing line an angel."
"Pat would be so proud of you to receive this award," she added.
Nardini mentioned about her maternal grandmother's brave fight with cancer, and how Haughton and the local ACS chapter assisted the family.
"After my Nana's passing, I got involved with the ACS the very next year in 1985," she said. "Knowing that Pat Haughton did so much for my family, that in some way, I too, wanted to help."
She told the gathering that her volunteering "evolved into this very real and unimaginable sense of healing for myself and my family."
She closed, "For everyone here today, who continues to care and help, work and live, strive and provide in any way, with your hands, from your hearts, you're always making a difference for someone in need. I am so proud and truly blessed to be in your company."
Danny Farole, who was responsible for introducing Douglas to the telethon, presented him with his award.
Douglas, who has played with The Temptations and toured the world with the Platters, has performed on the telethon for more than 20 years.
"He does so much for the telethon and he does it from his heart," Farole said.
A group of students from the Carbon Career and Technical Institute were introduced by Dave Reinbold, an instructor who has been working with the students on telethon-related projects. It was noted that the students raised close to $2,500 for the ACS.
Crusaders for a Cause have held fundraisers for various organizations, including the Cancer Society.
Clark was accompanied by his wife, Noreen, who also is a meteorologist with WNEP. He jokingly took credit for six straight days of temperatures being over 60 degrees and sunny.
He remarked, "I'm a proud husband, I'm a proud son, I'm a proud father, and I'm proud to say I'm a five-year cancer survivor. I survived because of having routine check-ups and taking quick action when I found out I had cancer.
Of early detection, he said he had regular PSA testing because of a family history of prostate cancer.
He said a normal PSA is three or less. When his hit four, he began antibiotics. The count shot up to eight, so he had a biopsy. It turned out negative.
A second biopsy also was negative.
Six months later, the speaker recalled, the PSA shot up to 11.4. A third biopsy revealed a small tumor beginning to grow on the tip of the prostate.
"I had prostate cancer at the age of 52," he said, noting that statistically this is a very young age.
The weather forecaster said he was given various options for treatment, but chose radical prostatectomy by a local surgeon. He made the decision to have his prostate removed in two weeks, even though prostate cancer is known to be a slow-growing cancer.
Still, he said, prostate cancer rates second to lung cancer in the cancer deaths among males.
Clark said he also had a bone scan done, to assure that the cancer didn't spread into his bones. In addition, when his prostate was removed, testing showed it had negative margin, meaning it hadn't spread beyond the prostate.
He mentioned that he was only out of work for three weeks, but during that time was inspired by the number of cards he got from viewers, including many in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties.
"Yes sir," he explained. "I beat it. I am a cancer survivor."
The master of ceremonies was Joseph Krushinsky, telethon chairman.
Entertainment was provided by Farole, who played his accordion and guitar as well as singing some vocal selections.