Cancer survivors help patients feel their best while fighting th - WNEM TV 5

Cancer survivors help patients feel their best while fighting the disease

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Two local women are making themselves ports of refuge for patients tossed in the tempest of cancer treatment.

They are cancer survivors and they are using their experience, along with compassion and strength, to help anchor people who might otherwise drift into despair.

“If I can make one person smile a day, that’s my goal,” said Kathy Bierek, volunteer at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute.

Bierek said it’s her goal to let patients know they are not alone.

“I knew when I got the diagnosis that everything was going to be alright and a positive attitude is the key to it,” Bierek said.

She has been cancer free for six years now and said the people she has met along the way helped immensely, like Pat Gaines.

Gaines was diagnosed with cancer four separate times before doctors were able to figure out she suffered from a genetic condition called lynch syndrome.

“Every time you have to get a checkup you’re nervous. That’s a normal thing you know, or you have a little twinge or you know, just something different that you don’t have,” Gaines said.

She is now four years cancer free and said keeping busy has been the key. That’s why the group was happy to lend their time when the owner of a women’s boutique wanted to open a shop inside the institute.

Katie’s Boutique launched three years ago at the institute and relies heavily on volunteers like Bierek and Gaines.

“They asked for our input and what we thought and what we should carry,” Gaines said.

“We offer hat pieces with hair attached, headbands with hair attaches. We have scarves, jewelry,” Bierek said.

They have basically anything to help patients look and feel their best as they fight the deadly disease.

“This whole place is geared toward helping people on their journey,” Bierek said.

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