WVU Medicine cancer survivors, healthcare providers celebrate life

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A cancer diagnosis can wreak havoc in the lives of those faced with battling the disease. But cancer survivors who gathered on Sunday, Aug. 30 at Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa in Morgantown to celebrate life with their healthcare providers at WVU Medicine and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center are proving that the human spirit is much stronger than the ravages of the disease.  

“My motto is to not let myself get upset,” Jennifer Gosley, a two-time breast cancer survivor from Morgantown, said. “The first time I was diagnosed, the healthcare staff were surprised that I didn’t shed any tears. I just wanted to know what kind of treatment plan they had for me.”

“We each have to resolve to get well and be there for each other,” 34-year-old Oak Hill resident Antonio Campbell, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma three times and has had two transplants, said. “We are some of the strongest people on earth.”

Several cancer survivors sang the praises of WVU Medicine and the Cancer Center, which hosted the event.  

“We need to thank our caregivers – the social workers, triage nurses, doctors, and a host of others – because without those people we wouldn’t be here,” Ron Garrison, a Great Cacapon resident who has beaten advanced pancreatic cancer as well as lung and liver cancer, said. “I won a second chance at life and so did everyone else in this room.”

“Our cancer center is growing to better serve patients who may not be able to travel to Morgantown,” Michael Craig, M.D., physician-in-chief of oncology at WVU Medicine’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, told the crowd. “We are collaborating with Garrett County Memorial Hospital in Oakland, Maryland, to open a satellite cancer care and infusion services center in January.”

Dr. Craig said WVU also has to encourage the next generation of healthcare providers to stay in West Virginia and go into the communities where cancer services are needed.

Photo identifications: Morgantown resident and two-time breast cancer survivor Jennifer Gosley and her husband Jerry Toppins