ACS telethon to salute cancer survivors
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Lindsay Heisler, 20, was a high school student active in numerous organizations when diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. She has a clean bill of health following treatment for the illness.
It was American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who said, "Into each life some rain must fall."
For Jamie Tatusko Lynn Tatusko of Nesquehoning and Lindsay Heisler of Tamaqua, both young and living life to the fullest, that rain turned into a typhoon.
Both survived, overcoming the darkness that tried to consume their lives. If anything, it appears the trials have made them both stronger.
Both Tatusko, 26, and Heisler, 20, were stricken with cancer - Hodgkins lymphoma - and have fully recovered.
Tatusko was a recipient of a "Courage Award" last year on the annual telethon of the Carbon-Tamaqua Chapter of the American Cancer Society.
Heisler received the award two years ago.
Tatusko will be at this year's telethon, which airs today and Sunday from noon to midnight on Blue Ridge Communications TV 13. She will be part of a special salute to cancer survivors that airs at about 8:15 p.m. today.
Other cancer survivors scheduled to appear on the segment are George Waidell, Nancy Meiser, Mary Theresa Schlauch, and Judy Behler, all of Tamaqua; Sharon Ulshafer and Ellen Beckowski, both of Lehighton; Mary Jane Sterling and Marc Gardiner, both of Summit Hill, and John Yurkunas of Lansford.
Tatusko, who had her medical port removed on Tuesday, said she is completely cancer free with a clean bill of health.
Last year when she received the Courage Award, her physician, Dr. Herbert Hoover, a cancer surgeon with Blue Mountain Health System who diagnosed her illness, also appeared on the telethon.
Dr. Hoover calls Tatusko "a strong individual who just won't quit" and a person who has been an inspiration to him personally.
One outstanding feature of Heisler is her beautiful blonde hair.
Although she lost her hair while battling her cance, it has since grown back and is as striking as ever.
Heisler is the daughter of Todd and Shelly Heisler. She is a 2009 graduate of Tamaqua Area High School and is in her sophomore year at Lehigh Carbon Community College. She hopes to be a medical assistant.
Not only did she endure the chemotherapy while battling Hodgkins lymphoma, but she was hospitalized at one point from an allergic reaction from one of the types of chemo.
Despite this, her mother recalls how she remained upbeat in the battle, and often did all the comforting herself.
She completed her treatment in March 2009.
"It's two years that I'm off therapy," she said.
Although her cancer is in remission, she said she still needs regular checkups to assure it doesn't resurface.
"There's a 99 percent chance it will never come back," she said. "Hodgkins lymphoma is the most curable and treatable cancer."
Lindsay's attitude still amazes her mother.
"I'm sure deep down inside she was down, but you wouldn't know it from seeing her," she said.
Lindsay hasn't slowed down. She helps on her family's egg farm, goes to the gym, does office work and remains very active in Sunday School at Calvary Evangelical United Methodist Church in Lewistown Valley, where she also sings and plays the alto sax.
"I've always had a positive attitude," she said. "I think this taught me to be a better person."
She advises anyone who contracts cancer to remain strong.
"Keep the faith. Don't let anything get you down," she said. "There's light at the end of the tunnel."