Ringing in the End of Treatment

Thanks to a generous donation, Fargo Radiation Patients Can Ring Celebratory Bell

Because her older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at 59 and she has dense breast tissue, Lisa McPherson paid special attention to her primary care physician’s recommendation that she get an MRI every six months in addition to her mammogram. With little concern, the 51-year-old Fargo resident got the MRI in February—and much to her surprise, a lump was discovered in each of her breasts.

A biopsy was quickly performed, determining one of the lumps was cancerous. A week later, Lisa had a lumpectomy on both breasts and received confirmation from her Essentia Health surgeon, Joshua Gebur, MD, that the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. Following surgery, Lisa began occupational therapy and four weeks of radiation therapy at the Essentia Health Cancer Center in Fargo.

Lisa’s husband, Jerrod, went to each radiation appointment: five days a week for the four-week duration. “It was harder on Jerrod than it was on me,” shares Lisa. She treated her surgery and her treatment as preventive—and credits the fact that she never felt sick with her ability to remain strong. According to Lisa, her attitude the whole time was: “Let’s get it done and taken care of.”

Lisa and Jerrod are grateful for the compassionate care they received from the entire radiation oncology team at the Cancer Center. “Everyone there was outstanding,” says Lisa. “All our questions were answered. They spent time with us, and we never felt rushed. Overall, it was a great experience.”

As the end of Lisa’s treatment was approaching, Jerrod began scanning the waiting room for the bell to ring—a tradition typically found in most hospitals that signifies the end of a patient’s treatment. Learning the practice did not have a bell, Lisa and Jerrod went shopping! Lisa joyfully rang the bell on her last day of treatment, and she and Jerrod left the bell behind so others could share that experience.

Mindful that not everyone has such a positive outcome, Lisa has a great deal of compassion for others who suffer or who are alone during their cancer journey. She reflects that “Jerrod really wanted me to ring that bell, and we donated it so everyone else can celebrate such an important milestone.”

The Essentia Health-Fargo Foundation actively supports patients and families with cancer through the Cancer Care Fund, which provides nutrition services, wigs, blanket warmers, grocery cards and hotel stays for those in treatment. To support the Cancer Care Fund, please make a gift online or contact Susan Omdalen, Executive Director, at [email protected] or (701) 364-7784.

How to Make an Online Donation

Visit our Give a Gift page and select from our list of Essentia Health campaigns and local foundations.

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