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Two Time Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Two Time Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story

Posted: Updated: Jun 01, 2014 07:39 PM
Irene Dawson Irene Dawson
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

Augusta Health is honoring cancer survivors Sunday.  The hospital hosted a forum for survivors to share their experiences on National Cancer Survivors Day.

Doctors say, thanks to improvements in medicine and early detection, the amount of survivors attending the event grows every year. One woman, who has survived cancer twice and is now 90 years old, is sharing her story to give hope to others diagnosed with the disease.

Irene Dawson has survived cancer of the bladder and lymph nodes and is now completely free of the disease. Dawson says Sunday's survivor's day program at Augusta Health lets her share her story so others know a diagnosis is not a death sentence.

"I just hope I can be an inspiration when they look at me and see that I’m 90 years old and have survived cancer twice,” said Dawson

She and two other cancer survivors spoke at the program in the hospital's community care building, along with several doctors. The hospital says this program helps build a support network for a survivor that’s growing stronger every year.

Brad Johnson, cancer services director said," You definitely are not alone, and there's definitely a lot more cancer survivors today than there have been in the past."

The event also featured information booths and a station to test for skin cancer. Doctors say early detection is the biggest improvement for patients.

Robert Kyler, the chair of cancer committee said, "Women with breast cancer now, greater than 90 percent chance of being cured, and part of that is because of advances in treatment, but a larger part of that is because we pick them up earlier, we just do better."

Dawson says she feels blessed to have beaten the disease, and to be a part of the community that helps others through that struggle.

"It isn't the end of the world. It's rough, and no one is going to tell you it's easy, but no one ever told you life was going to be easy, so you just take it in stride, and a day at a time,” said Dawson.

This year marks the 27th annual National Cancer Survivors Day.  The survivors at Augusta Health join nearly 14 million survivors nationwide in celebrating Sunday.

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