A Special Star for a Cancer Survivor

A Bond Between Patient and Caregiver

In a Cancer Center, some days can be hard, but others can be the most glorious of all. Those are the days that our staff at Willamette Valley Medical Center live for and help our patients fight for. It was on this special day that one of our amazing team members celebrated life with a cancer survivor.

This patient is a retired detective and patrol officer who has been through it all – not only through surgery, treatment, and healing for his head and neck cancer, but also the deaths of family members to cancer and getting through AA (successful now for 30 years).  Throughout his life’s journey he has collected pins for his hat, each signifying a memorable moment or accomplishment/achievement.

On the last day of the patient’s radiation treatment, Eric Sandles-West, his radiation therapist, wanted to celebrate him. Throughout the many months of treatment he and Eric had formed a bond and a special friendship.

Without thinking, he removed his “Star Pin” from his badge. The pin represented Eric winning an award for providing “Amazing Care Every time,” or as we refer to them, ACE awards. This level of award is hard to achieve and speaks volumes to the type of care Eric provides. So needless to say, it is special, so special that he gave it to the patient for his hat so that he could always remember how strong he is and to celebrate beating Cancer.

Days like this make working in healthcare amazing!


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