Positivity and Hope at the Abramson Cancer Center #CSD14

Cancer Survivor’s Day is a day to celebrate life with and after cancer. Every person diagnosed with cancer is considered a survivor, and today, we share inspirational stories of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center survivors.

“Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for the incredible care that I received.”

Dimitrios Donavos of Silver Spring, MD was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma in May of 2006. Today, he is grateful to be cancer free.

“Sitting in Dr. Mandel’s office awaiting the results of a thin needle biopsy was one of the longest waits I ever had to endure. It was probably less than 20 minutes, all told, but the anticipation of confirming (or rejecting) a cancer diagnosis had the effect of making time stand still. The tension in the room as we waited for the results was palpable. When Dr. Mandel mercifully burst in and broke the silence, the news was what I had feared: I had thyroid cancer.”

Read Dimitrios’s full story here.

“There are always options at Penn.”

Ken Shaw could no longer ignore the swollen gland on the side of his neck. At first, he just brushed it off as part of a cold or sore throat, but as weeks went by and it wasn’t getting better, he decided to have it checked out by his family physician in Woodbury, NJ.

“I had stage 4 cancer, and needed a complicated surgery that involved a graft from my thigh in order to rebuild the back of my throat, but Dr. Weinstein removed the cancer that January, and I started radiation and chemotherapy after that,” remembers Ken. “I really had no time to react to the fact I had cancer because it all moved so fast.”

Read Ken’s full story here.

“By being grateful for the beautiful moments in each day, we are truly living.”

Rachel Kachnycz is a young woman from Ambler who, at 23, was diagnosed with brain cancer (grade III anaplastic astrocytoma). Today, she is cancer-free and living her life full of positivity.

“Though this diagnosis came to me as a shock, I think that in life we get that for which we ask. I needed something to make me put my silly anxieties and my entire life into perspective. I needed to truly appreciate the opportunity that I have here on this earth. Now I can say that I do.”

Read Rachel’s full story here.