WVCI staff celebrates survivorship at Relay for Life

Trenda Dominguez is grateful every day—grateful to assist patients though her job as a scheduler for Willamette Valley Cancer Institute's gynecologic oncology department and grateful to call herself a cancer survivor.

Nearly ten years ago, at age 35 and just after the birth of her son, Trenda was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

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Posted June 28, 2016

Photographer views cancer diagnosis through unique lens

When Bob Petit gazes through his camera lens, he sees wonder and beauty. Calling himself a “serious amateur,” his love of photography has grown over the years. Yet, not even with the clearest of lenses, could Bob have seen his cancer diagnosis coming.

“I had a feeling something was wrong, because I was sleeping 14 hours a day,” Bob says. “But I didn’t think about cancer.”

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Posted April 20, 2016

Young survivor plans for future after cancer

Lindsey Bills was excited about all the things she would learn when she enrolled at the University of Oregon. She didn’t expect cancer to become part of her learning experience.

Everything changed for Lindsey when she noticed a swollen lymph node on the right side of her clavicle in November 2013.

“On my 20th birthday, I was on a trip to Portland with some friends,” she says. “During the trip, I would get twinges in that area and I started to feel like something was wrong.”

Lindsey underwent a chest X-ray and blood work at the University’s Health Center and was referred for a biopsy the day before Thanksgiving. The results confirmed Lindsey had Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.

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Posted February 22, 2016

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the cells of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for fighting disease and infection. Because the immune system is found all throughout the body, lymphoma can begin almost anywhere.

“Lymphoproliferative disorders (including CLL and NHL) are abnormal accumulation of lymphocytes,” says Dr. Jeff Sharman, director of research at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. “Lymphocytes are kind of like the brains of the immune system and generally speaking, when they become cancerous, that’s either lymphoma or some forms of leukemia.”

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Posted February 15, 2016

Firefighter turns loss into hope for patients

Firefighter and paramedic Michael Lundeen has spent his career helping people during scary and difficult moments.

For Michael, one of his most difficult moments was losing his close friend, David Sneed, to cancer. Six months after complaining of pain under his arm while playing golf, David passed away from lymphoma at the age of 27.

“That loss really woke me up. He was too young,” Michael says. “Somehow, in my mind, I thought this would be a long fight. And it shocked the heck out of me when he was gone.”

The loss of his childhood friend spurred Michael to start racing go-karts as a hobby, since he and David were both big NASCAR fans. That hobby morphed into MDL Motorsports and has since become a way to honor his friend. Team Lundeen, the charitable division of MDL Motorsports, is committed to supporting Oregon Cancer Foundation. OCF provides stopgap financial assistance to patients undergoing cancer treatment in Lane County.

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Posted December 10, 2015