Santa doesn't always travel by sleigh. Sometimes, holiday goodwill takes alternate forms of transportation, including the white passenger van that recently pulled into the parking lot at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center.
Every three minutes, an American is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer. Paul Leighton of Springfield realized he was part of that statistic in 2013, when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, brought on by a disorder that prevents stem cells from maturing and accumulating in his bone marrow.
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013, Marcy Sexton has seen the inside of Willamette Valley Cancer Institute more times than she can count. Despite surgery and aggressive chemotherapy, Marcy's cancer returned in 2015, then again in 2017 in her liver. This time, one of the tumors was in a tricky spot.
When Brenda Mills of Springfield was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer in June of 2016, she knew she was in for the fight of her life, physically and mentally. What she didn't expect was that cancer would also cost a financial toll. When she needed support, the Oregon Cancer Foundation was there to help.
Jim Ketter, a former physics instructor at Oregon State University is among the first in the Willamette Valley to receive a new treatment for glioblastoma, the most common type of brain tumor in adults. Jim underwent surgery and radiation therapy, and now, in addition to receiving chemotherapy, he wears a cap-like device called Optune.
Shirley Lyons knows the power of flowers. For more than 40 years, Shirley and her family have owned and operated Dandelions Flowers & Gifts in Eugene. In 2012, she and her daughter, Toviana, found another way to help. They started Bras for Cause, a fundraiser to support local cancer patients.
Jeff Gusinow spent part of the summer doing something he hadn't planned: receiving treatment at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. "I write on my Facebook page every week about how my 'staycation' is going, as if I were on a boat. So, this is the leido deck," Jeff says from where he sits in WVCI's infusion room. Jeff was diagnosed 11 years ago with a slow-growing blood cancer called follicular lymphoma, the most common form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His cancer has now advanced to the point where treatment is recommended.
Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center opened its newest location this week inside The Corvallis Clinic, making it easier for primary care physicians and oncologists to work together on behalf of patients in Benton, Linn and Lincoln counties.
Soft-spoken and 79-years-old, Judith Stensland is receiving chemotherapy for colon cancer. Despite having lost her 47-year-old son to the disease, along with the uncertainty that comes with her own diagnosis, she remains positive and upbeat.
Retired teacher Debbie Roberts-Sorg is a crafter. She spends her time scrapbooking, sewing and, most recently, painting and card making. She appreciates these creative outlets even more since being diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016. The tumor, classified as invasive ductile carcinoma, was detected during a routine mammogram.