Ten northeastern Pennsylvania residents recently took the brave step of sharing their personal experiences with breast cancer to inspire others who are facing the disease.
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania has collected the stories and photos of these nine local women and one man in the company's 10th annual "Gallery of Hope."
Created by Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2000, the Gallery of Hope is a traveling display designed to educate the public about the importance of early detection and treatment in the fight against breast cancer.
Beginning this month, the 2010 Gallery will be available for exhibit throughout northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.
When people think of breast cancer, they typically think it's a woman's disease, but just ask Stanley Parulski. The resident of Hanover Township, in Luzerne County, felt a lump on his chest in 1987. He brought it to his doctor's attention, and it turned out to be cancerous. With nine months of chemotherapy and the support of his family, Stanley survived his fight with breast cancer, and he is still thriving at age 73.
Stanley never hesitates to talk about his breast cancer. He wants the community to know the disease also can strike men, and, just like in women, early detection is critical.
At the age of 24, Lindsay Newmyer, of East Stroudsburg in Monroe County, discovered a lump on her breast through self-examination. She went to her doctor right away.
Though her mammogram was inconclusive, an ultrasound showed a mass that turned out to be stage one breast cancer. Surgery, radiation treatments and chemotherapy followed. Subsequent testing has shown no recurrence of her breast cancer.
Today, things are back to normal for Lindsay, who can be found at the gym or playing volleyball when she's not teaching her first-grade class.
Like Parulski, Newmyer says early detection is the key.
"I was very lucky to have found the lump so early," says Newmyer, who also is a proud new homeowner.
Barbara Wagner, of Weatherly in Carbon County, is a licensed practical nurse and a grandmother of six. As a health care professional, Wagner's message is that breast cancer is beatable.
Although Wagner does not have a family history of breast cancer, her doctor discovered a lump during a routine exam.
"More women need to be aware of breast cancer and not fear it," she says. "It is a treatable disease when it's found early."
Kathy Morean, of Williamsport in Lycoming County, has been diagnosed with breast cancer twice. Through treatment and the support of her friends and family, she has emerged a survivor. In fact, she's working on a book about her experiences. Morean says that cancer is "an awakening chapter in anyone's life."
"Life has no guarantees and also no boundaries," she added. "Cancer is not limiting. You learn from it. You teach because of it, and you live your life accordingly."
Six additional breast cancer survivors are also honored in the 2010 Gallery of Hope:
Dawn DeMorrow, of White Haven in Luzerne County, is a two-time cancer survivor.
* Kathleen D. Feik, of Honesdale in Wayne County, makes quilts for breast cancer patients and friends and family members dealing with cancer.
* Rosanne Hawke-Luceno, of Hazel Township in Luzerne County, offers one-on-one support and encouragement to others who are dealing with breast cancer.
* Jeanne Laninger, of Athens in Bradford County, is a Reach to Recovery volunteer with the American Cancer Society.
* Karen M. Mann, of Moscow in Lackawanna County, completed the 60-mile Philadelphia Breast Cancer walk with friends and family over three days in October 2009.
* Carol Vogrin, of Tunkhannock in Wyoming County, is a two-time breast cancer survivor.
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania created the Gallery of Hope in 2000. The nomination process is open year-round. To nominate a breast cancer survivor, or to request the Gallery of Hope as an exhibit at your facility or event, please contact Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania at 1 (888) 245-3104.