On the first Sunday in June each year, we celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day. It is a day to celebrate those who have survived the devastating disease, for those who are going through a cancer journey, and for those recently diagnosed.
The SolutionHealth Cancer Institute, affiliated with Mass General Hospital, was established nearly a year ago when the Solinsky Center for Cancer Care at The Elliot opened in July 2020.
“It’s a beautiful facility. […] you get that warm, comfortable feeling like you would get sitting in front of a fire place on a cold snowy night when you walk through the door. It’s a feeling you can’t describe in words. Everybody is warm, caring, sensitive, and so trustworthy here at the SolutionHealth Cancer Institute,” Charlene Colpas, a patient at our Manchester location, explains.
Colpas was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2020. Since that time, she had a double mastectomy with reconstruction and has started chemotherapy.
“I can’t say enough about the care that I receive at the SolutionHealth Cancer Institute. It has been phenomenal. The treatment and the follow up have been incredible. They have made it a great experience for a situation that’s not a great one,” Colpas says. “It’s very convenient that my medical team is all in one location. I would hate to drive to different places.”
Colpas wants anyone who receives a cancer diagnosis to know how important it is to ask for help. “The staff is always willing to listen to you, they’re not rushing you out the door. Stay strong and positive. When you’re starting to feel doubt, reach out to a friend or family member. Read books about other survivors and their journeys. One day I’d like to be in a book sharing my journey and how I have become so strong. Just stay strong, stay positive, and don’t ever give up hope. If you’re having a bad day today, just know that tomorrow is a new day.”
And for families who have a loved one who was recently diagnosed Colpas says, “You have to remind yourself and your loved one that they will beat cancer. There are times where you may have a weak moment, but you have to follow that immediately with a positive thought.”
Colpas plans on celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day with her best friend, who was also diagnosed with cancer, by making cards for other cancer patients. She also plans on taking part in the 3rd Annual Walk for Hope hosted by Mary and John Elliot Charitable Foundation at The Elliot on June 13. Please consider registering for the walk. Money that’s raised will benefit programs, services, and patients at the Solinsky Center for Cancer Care at The Elliot. Register and donate today at donate.elliothospital.org/walkforhope2021.