It's accepting the diagnosis and keeping the faith. It's letting the community wrap its arms around you. It's help and hope. And the courage to keep going. These are your stories.
For our patients, what matters most is being able to stay close to home without compromising on comprehensive cancer care. We offer advanced treatments, a team of cancer experts and a broad range of support services – all in proximity to family, friends and the support of your community.
Whether you're in treatment or survivorship, a supporter or volunteer, there’s something you can do to help #FINISHCANCER. Make a meal. Knit a chemo cap. Run a race. Just do something – because you can.
Eleven years after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, Melinda Magnaghi's cancer came back – this time, in her left lung. Daunted but not deterred, the Walla Walla native made the decision to fight this battle on her home turf at Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center.
“I wanted to be here, with family,” Magnaghi said. “I wouldn't go anywhere else. It's so happy and positive.”
Magnaghi, a second-grade teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary School, will have to receive chemotherapy for the rest of her life, in order to keep the cancer at bay. Her motto? “I can have cancer, but cancer can’t have me,” she said. “I'm getting such great care. If that's what you have to do every three weeks, it's really not a bad place to go.”
Carrie Russo was introduced to Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center 16 years ago, when her first husband was diagnosed with cancer. While in treatment, she'd socialize with the patients at the infusion center. After he died, they asked Carrie if she'd keep coming – as a volunteer.
Since then, Russo has been a fixture at the center, bringing patients warm blankets, food and drink. Even her own cancer diagnosis in January 2016 didn’t keep her from her weekly commitment. “Everyone that works there is so upbeat,” she said. “I always feel like when I work there, you walk into a room full of angels.
“I just feel like I have to comfort people. And when I comfort them, it makes me feel good.”
One of nine children, Ramon grew up in Walla Walla, developing a tough work ethic – and a commitment to giving back to the community that embraced him. That giving back extends to the Gran Fondo, which benefits Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center. “We've been involved with sponsoring and supporting that event for four or five years now,” he said.
“I'm always trying to support people that are battling illnesses,” he said. To that end, Zamora – an accomplished, life-long boxer – brought to town a program called Rock Steady that employs boxing techniques to help mitigate symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Until recently, Zamora had no personal experience with cancer. Then, his sister was diagnosed. “It affects the whole family. Just like Parkinson's,” he said. “It takes fighting. It takes being courageous.”