Cancer Treatment Centers of America® and WCBS News radio 880 would like to thank all those who participated in our Cancer Heroes program. As a part of the program, we asked listeners to submit entries people in their lives who they would call cancer heroes. We were inspired and touched when we received an outpouring of stories from so many listeners. After reviewing each story, we chose five people whose journeys exemplified our Cancer Heroes Program. Here are snapshots from five different people, five lives, all affected by cancer. We invite you to also watch the videos to learn more about who each of these heroes are and what makes them symbols of the bravery it takes to fight cancer.
Our Cancer Heroes are:
David “DJ” Cohen
DJ is a Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient from NJ. Some would say that after his shocking diagnosis, DJ had every reason to feel sorry for himself and to focus solely on his own treatment. But this is not what he did. DJ has, over time, become somewhat of a celebrity at the hospital where he treats—Memorial Sloan Kettering. When there at the hospital, he dresses up, interacts with other patients, makes them feel comfortable, and gives them a reason to smile. He writes life-affirming poetry, plays music, and gives motivational speeches to groups in need. DJ has not let his cancer get the best of him. He is an inspiration people fighting cancer everywhere!
Shari Bergman Goldsmith
A wife, mother, sister, friend and breast cancer survivor, Shari Goldsmith has rallied the Plainview community with her story and fight. She has raised thousands of dollars for her annual fundraiser and Race for the Cure team. During her treatment, Shari created a 501 (3)(c) non-profit called The WTFC. She’s helped raise over a quarter of a million dollars with 100% of the proceeds donated to breast cancer research all over the country. Shari is a survivor and she is committed to making more survivors. She is a real hero!
Isabela “Bella” Rose Denisulk
Bella is 9 years old and has been battling neuroblastoma since she was 2. She refuses to go down without a fight and has been through it all from chemo, to surgeries, to more radiation than anyone should have to face. Still, she manages to wake up with a smile every day. Recently, Bella’s mother was met with an incredibly difficult question– “Do we keep fighting, or just make Bella comfortable?” She left the decision to her very mature little girl and Bella said, “I’ve been fighting this whole time Mommy. Why stop now?” An inspiration to everyone around her, Bella is a truly remarkable human being!
Carole is 78 years young and a five-year lung cancer survivor. When she was told she had Stage 3 lung cancer, Carole never wavered in her determination to fight the disease. Full of grace, generosity and courage, Carole has been an amazing mother, grandmother, aunt and teacher – she works at Molloy College and has been coaching the college’s equestrian team for over 40 years! When she was in treatment, she still made it to Citi field to root for her beloved Mets more often than most fans. She is a special lady who says that cancer was a gift. Carole is the definition of a heroic cancer survivor – she loves life and lives it completely each and every day!
Betsy is the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ. Betsy goes above and beyond for the kids and their families at St. Joseph’s. She treats every one of her patients as an individual person, understanding their needs and doing her best to help them lead “normal” lives. Whether it’s doing everything she can to help patients stay in school, coming to their homes to check-in or give them treatment; or just being there any time to lend advice—Betsy is a gem! And what will you find her doing over her summer vacation? Betsy works for a camp that serves children living with cancer. It should come as no surprise that after her hard work at the camp, Betsy turns around and donates her paycheck back to the organization—helping to fund camp operations!