The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 23, 2012

Friends fight cancer together

Michele Mikesic Bender
For The Tribune-Democrat

WILMORE — Many folks in Wilmore plant family roots firmly. Childhood friendships from school and neighborhoods blossom into lasting adult relationships.

For years, Beverly New and a friend had their annual mammograms at the same time. She was especially wary of the disease after losing her 43-year-old brother to colon cancer.

A year ago, doctors discovered a small lump.

“The minute you hear the word ‘cancer,’ you think death,” New said. “My doctors performed scans and blood tests. They helped me realize that my life wasn’t going to be over.”

New praised her physicians, Drs. Diana Craig and Michael D. Voloshin and their staff at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center.  

“When I had a meltdown, these angels were ready with information, resources, support and encouragement.”

Doctors performed a lumpectomy and positioned a small balloon to protect from any undetected spread. A tube was inserted to focus radiation directly on the affected area.

New’s next surprise came when she learned her longtime friend and neighbor, Robin Krull, was facing the same predicament.

Krull enjoyed fine health until a routine mammogram detected a lump in June of 2011. Krull was understandably frightened, but Craig assured her that this was not a death sentence either.

“The Murtha center is a fantastic place,” Krull said. “They planted an internal pad – the SAVI procedure – to administer my radiation. They valued my input. They offered me a choice of taking some chemotherapy as well, and I decided better safe than sorry. I want to live to see my grandchildren get married.”

“Our families, caregivers (and) the entire community rallied to help us,” New continued. “Folks brought dinners over for our families. But Robin was my mentor, my inspiration.”

Krull continued to work throughout her treatment.

“My faith in God, the love and devotion of my family kept me going, but work helped keep me busy and occupied.”

“When you pray to St. Theresa and she grants your plea, she sends you a rose as a sign. My niece, unaware of that, brought me a gold-plated rose. I knew then my prayer had been answered.”

Most of all, New can’t stress enough the importance of preventive measures.

“Life is too precious,” she observed.

New recently had her first mammogram since being diagnosed. She is now, proudly, a one-year survivor.

Krull heartily endorses mammograms and prevention, but she has  another message to pass along.

“It’s amazing how nosy and insensitive people can be. I tolerated incredibly rude behavior and impertinent questions when I wore scarves and wigs. One man in a market asked me to read his fortune.

“People need to spend a minute and consider the situation before opening their mouths.”

Both of these courageous ladies feel blessed to have had one another during their life-changing challenges.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.”


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