Oncology nurse Jan Cline knows her job is more than taking care of the body of a cancer patient.
“Day in and day out you see the courage. The fight,” she said. “They are just very special people that have been touched with something that’s terrible.”
Matt Carpenter knows the fight of survival first hand, and as of his most recent PET scan, he is seven years cancer free.
In 2009 he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
The disease then spread to his prostate and thyroid.
“I remember when I was a kid, you say the word cancer and it was like a death sentence. But with the advancements in technology and everything like that now, it’s not a dirty word any more,” he said. “In fact more people need to be aware of it.”
For 25 years the Illiana Oncology Nursing Society has celebrated National Cancer Survivor Day with the patients who became family.
“Every day, from the time they are diagnosed all the way through their fight, they are a survivor,” said Cline. “So we just like to come together and celebrate that.”
Carpenter says he owes his success to his doctors, his family and his faith.
He wants survivors to understand the support doesn’t stop when the PET scan comes back clear.
“So it’s nice to have fellowship and good times with the survivors who have been through what you’ve been through,” he said. “Because until you’ve been through it and experienced it, you really can’t explain it.”
For those in need of support during or after the fight, Cline says to reach out to oncology nurses who are involved in Illiana ONS.