Rotary of Cambridge Logo

Return to our Home Page

January is Rotary Awareness Month

Kick Cancer

Kick Cancer
Rotarian cancer survivors and family members of those who have been affected by cancer: L-R, first row - Tina Adams, Bob Dix, Bill McCoach, Debbie Robinson, Kellie Brown, Steve Donohue. Second Row - Bonnie Czigans, Amy Adams, Fran Taylor, Dave Mansperger.

Cambridge Rotarians Ask the Community to Help Kick Cancer - Written By Kellie Brown
Maybe you're a cancer survivor or you're currently battling a form of the disease. Maybe it has affected a family member or friend. Or maybe your life has never been directly touched by cancer at all. For those who live with cancer or know someone battling it, research is the most valuable commodity there is to fight and treat it. For those who have never known cancer, research is the largest driving force for prevention and early detection.

In an effort to assist in this battle, Rotary District 6690 has teamed up with the James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Center to KICK CANCER by creating a $250,000 endowment fund where the interest made each year will be used for cancer research.

Now we are asking the community to join our team. Any monetary donation will help with the fight. Please make donations to Rotary Club of Cambridge, PO Box 662, Cambridge, OH 43725. Cancer knows no bias, and the only way to truly control it is to perform the research necessary to cure it. I consider myself very fortunate and blessed that God put Dr. Patrick Goggin, Dr. Eyad Mahayri, a phenomenal SEORMC ER team, the 7th floor nurses at the James, and my wonderful family and friends on my team. I pray that someday research will find cures for all types of cancer. Please join our team to fight this disease.


This is the second article in a series of articles during January written by members of the Rotary Club of Cambridge. Each member is a cancer survivor or has dealt with cancer through a loved one. During Rotary Awareness Month, the Cambridge Club is highlighting their Kick Cancer Campaign. In an effort to assist in this battle, Rotary District 6690 has teamed up with the James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Center to KICK CANCER by creating a $250,000 endowment fund where the interest made each year will be used for cancer research.  We are asking the community to join our team.  Any monetary donation will help with the fight.  Please make donations to Rotary Club of Cambridge, PO Box 662, Cambridge, OH 43725.
Debbie Robinson and fellow cancer survivor, LeAnn Matvey, at the 2000 Relay for Life.

A Cancer Survivor's Journey - Written by Debbie Robinson

Editor's Note:  This article was first published on Sunday, February 25, 2001.

How well we remember the reverie that took place last New Year, the hoopla over Y2K, and the endless debates over whether or not 2000 or 2001 marked the beginning of the millennium. Doubtless, for most of us, 2000 did represent a milestone in our lives, but soon after the confetti was swept away and the noisemakers were silenced, we settled back into our daily routines. For me, the year 2000 will always represent the beginning of an incredible journey. Along with approximately 200 other Guernsey county residents, I was diagnosed with cancer.

I have ovarian cancer. Often called the silent killer, it strikes one out of every 55 women in her lifetime. For 70% of these women, their cancer will not be diagnosed until later stages because the symptoms in the earlier stages are so vague. In 1999, approximately 25,400 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

1999 was also the year I took part in the Leadership Guernsey program. As a part of the curriculum, my class spent a day at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center learning about their newest state of the art equipment, especially their new GE Light Speed, a donut shaped cat scanning device. We toured the newly remodeled ICU floor where critical patients receive one-on-one care, and we peeked into the new endoscopy unit on 5th floor where outpatient procedures and treatments are performed. Never in my wildest imagination did I dream that a year later I would be the recipient of those very sites we toured that day in March.

I call this experience of cancer a journey because, for those of us who have lived through it, we know all to well the feeling of being adrift in a sea of confusion, doubt and fear; having to navigate through a storm of tests, doctor's appointments and an endless parade of white lab coats. I was fortunate though, for several reasons.  I was one of the 30% of women whose ovarian cancer was diagnosed in its earliest stage. The GE Light Speed at SEORMC had detected my tumor before it spread to other parts of my body. Hope and encouragement from efficient and caring healthcare professionals quickly replaced my fears. A community of friends and church family rallied around me, showering me with cards, prayers and their most valuable possession, their time.

No matter where this journey leads me, I will be forever grateful for the kindness I received from those who touched my life in a profound way: the OR nurses who held my hands before surgery; the unfaltering eyes of the ICU nurses who monitored my every move; the second floor "angels" who lovingly cared for me during two hospital stays; social workers who painstakingly educated me about my disease, its effects and how I can live with cancer, and the lab technicians who continue to dispense humor and concern along with their Band-Aids.

I discovered first hand the importance of having a cancer center right in my own back yard. My chemo treatments in the endoscopy unit would sometimes last 8 to 10 hours. Long after their shifts were over, the nurses who administered those six rounds of chemo would stay with me until the last drop coursed through my veins. I received helpful calls from the Guernsey County Cancer Society, an invitation from the American Cancer Society to participate in Survivor's Day, and I walked the survivor's lap during Relay for Live surrounded by fellow cancer survivors and dear friends who encouraged my every step.

Yes, this has been quite a trip. Looking back now at what could have been a horrifying experience, I realize how thankful we all should be to live in an area where we have a medical center comprised of skilled professionals and a community filled with compassionate people. Above all, I am thankful for this second chance I have been given at life and that I can live it in Cambridge, Ohio. During my illness, I so often heard, "God bless you." My reply then and now, "He already has."

(Robinson subsequently had a second surgery at James Cancer Center and has been cancer free for five years.)


This is the third article in a series of articles during January written by members of the Rotary Club of Cambridge. Each member is a cancer survivor or has dealt with cancer through a loved one. During Rotary Awareness Month, the Cambridge Club is highlighting their Kick Cancer Campaign. In an effort to assist in this battle, Rotary District 6690 has teamed up with the James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Center to KICK CANCER by creating a $250,000 endowment fund where the interest made each year will be used for cancer research. We are asking the community to join our team. Any monetary donation will help with the fight. Please make donations to Rotary Club of Cambridge, PO Box 662, Cambridge, OH 43725.
Reverand David Mansperger and his wife Mary.

Cancer, A Disease of Faith - Written by David Mansperger

When the Kick Cancer campaign committee invited me to contribute an article for this series, there wasn't any hesitation. Though I am not a cancer survivor, five of my immediate family has had the disease. In 1950 Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 1959 an older brother was found to have testicular cancer. My sister found she had breast cancer in the mid-1990's. Bladder cancer was diagnosed for Dad in 1998. My wife was found to have colon cancer in 2002 and, again, liver cancer in 2003.

I wish there were some formula or particularly effective advice to offer those reading this article who lives today with the disease in any of its particularities either personally or with a relative or friend. But there isn't any such formula. Instead I offer what I know-my experience-and insights resulting from dealing with this disease and its impact upon family over the 55 years.

When Mother's cancer was found, I was 7 years old. So the details of the disease and treatment are not something I remember. What I do remember is how her disease changed the family. Life at in our home was disrupted. First there were little things. Dad and my two older brothers assumed the regular household chores. I was the designated as the "sitter" with Mother in the evenings so that Dad could rest. Neighbors and nurses came in during the day to help with some of the meals and watch us three kids, 7, 6 and 5 years old. Mother's slowly failed over the next 9 months and by following summer, was unable to tolerate even the smell of food preparation in the home. My younger siblings and I spend most of that summer staying with relatives out of town until her death in late August just before school was to start up again. I lived in the shadow of lots of unanswered questions and the dark holes of not knowing some of the details. The five siblings have never forgotten either the big hole in our lives or how determined Dad was to keep the remaining family intact. That task consumed our energy over the ensuing months. I never knew the details of the cancer (or that it was began as breast cancer), the surgical treatment and the subsequent metastasis until preparing this article. Fortunately my oldest brother could provide these details.

About nine years later, while brother Duane was studying veterinarian medicine at The Ohio State University, he was diagnosed with cancer. Treatments options had greatly expanded over the intervening years. Surgery and radiation treatment at the OSU Medical Center provided the immediate and on going responses to the disease. The latter took hold, and as time passed, some of the uncertainty dissipated. It was great news to receive word from the doctors that he was cancer free five, ten, and fifteen years later. So the family breathed a sigh of relief that he survived. Then in the late 1980's a spot was found on his breast that turned out to be malignant cancer. Surgery and, this time, chemotherapy, were the treatments of choice. But by 1991 the disease was spreading, eventually into his bones. He died in 1992. Dad's determination once again had surfaced, this time in encouraging Duane to fight for his life and to pursue the best course of treatment available.

About that same time, my sister learned she had breast cancer. It was caught in early stages. Surgery and subsequent therapies brought the disease under control. Nevertheless in view of our experience in Duane's case, Marilyn remains watchful, returns for follow up checkups with her doctor(s), and maintains a regimen of healthy diet and exercise. All of us are hopeful that this cancer will not return and, again, we have confidence in the advances made over the years since the family first faced the disease with Mother.

In 1998 Dad was given a diagnosis of bladder cancer. The remaining days of his life were seriously disrupted by surgery and chemotherapy. Once, again, his determination carried him through those days. That determination was not lost on his remaining family as we supported him during his hospital stays and recuperation and rehabilitation therapies that followed. He died two years later, and while the cancer was not the cause, we know it did sap him of strength and had a role in his death at nearly 92 years of age.

All of these years of experience within the family and my experiences with parishioners, colleagues and friends who found themselves with cancer, was just preparation for dealing with my spouse's cancer battle. Mary was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002. We might have found it earlier if she had had periodic colonoscopy as recommended by the American Cancer Society. Nevertheless once we knew of it, with the same determination as Dad's, set out to find the best appropriate treatment available. This resulted in the referral to a surgeon at the James Cancer Center in Columbus (OSU Medical Center). Treatment options were limited due to other medical problems (heart disease and diabetes). The diseased section of her intestine was removed in July. While it was thought that all of the cancer was removed, we continued with the surgeon to have periodic examinations and tests. It was a good thing we did so, for another cancer was discovered on her liver in late December. It w as surgically removed the following February. Again, because of her other medical conditions, she did not have the option of receiving either chemo or radiation treatment.

While at the James Cancer Center we learned that some colon cancer might be caused by hereditary factors. Mary was invited to participate in a study to determine whether or not her cancer might be one of these types. Since this could be important information for her son and grandchildren to know, she enrolled. We were relieved when the report came back that it was not hereditary and were able to pass this finding on to the family.

For the next two years, Mary was considered a cancer survivor. In the meantime other medical problems persisted to the point that she was only able to take care of one at a time and her periodic checkups with the oncologist were dropped after 2003. Mary died in June last year. While her cancer had returned as we learned in May, her other medical problems were the result of her death then.

I have had a lifetime to learn about this disease. I know that early detection and prompt consultation with the doctor about treatment options available are the best things we can do. I know that tremendous advances have been made in both detection and treatment of this disease during my lifetime. And these advances will continue as long as we shall support research and treatment centers such as the James Center. I know that the disease comes in many forms and none of us are every really secure against it occurring in us. Finally, I know that we never really have to fight the disease alone. For Mary and I, and my family in the incidents before, were part of a community of faith that gives hope and support. Let me close with this one story about that community of faith.

In August 1951 Robert Zinsmeister was pastor of the Chandlersville Methodist Church where our grandparents were members. My brother Clare and I were staying with Grandma and Grandpa when word of our Mother's death was received. Grandma immediately called and asked Pastor Zinsmeister to come over and talk with Clare and me. He did. I never will forget that he cared enough to spend an hour in pastoral care for these two boys 6 and 7 years old. I don't remember much of what he said or even what our questions might have been, but I do remember how he cared for and loved us as Jesus had called him to. On the morning of Mary's memorial service, June 11th, Pastor Zinsmeister, now retired and living at Middlefield, Ohio, tracked me down at my stepson's home in Sardis, called me on the phone, talked and had prayer with me for ten minutes or so. Though he was unable to make the trip for the service, he would close himself in his study and be in prayer for my family and me at 11 o'clock when Mary's memorial service was to begin. That the kind of faith community support along with the support of all the rest of my extended family is what has sustained me in hope and in thanksgiving for all the riches of life with which the Lord blesses us. Someday we will find a cure for cancer. Rev. David Mansperger is the minister of Center United Methodist Church.


This is the fourth article in a series of articles during January written by members of the Rotary Club of Cambridge. Each member is a cancer survivor or has dealt with cancer through a loved one. During Rotary Awareness Month, the Cambridge Club is highlighting their Kick Cancer Campaign. In an effort to assist in this battle, Rotary District 6690 has teamed up with the James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Center to KICK CANCER by creating a $250,000 endowment fund where the interest made each year will be used for cancer research. We are asking the community to join our team. Any monetary donation will help with the fight. Please make donations to Rotary Club of Cambridge, PO Box 662, Cambridge, OH 43725
Delores Williams, cancer survivor, and her daughter, Amy Adams.

A Daughters Story - Written by Amy Adams

Cancer..... When I hear the word I immediately get a dark feeling that overcomes me. Until September 14th it was a word I associated with someone else, anyone else but me. I have many friends and acquaintances that have been diagnosed with cancer. Most of them have won the battle and now lead wonderful lives. A few have not been as fortunate and have gone on to a far better life in heaven. But the dark disease was in someone else's family not mine. Then on September 14th I received a call on my cell phone. (How ironic that I was in a Rotary PR meeting discussing the Kick Cancer Campaign when the phone rang.) My mother was diagnosed with cancer, the Big C. She would be meeting with a doctor in Columbus the next day to schedule surgery. This was fast, too fast. Was this good or bad I did not know. I went home from the meeting and immediately phoned my brother and sister and we compared information. I then got online and read everything I could about the disease, the doctor and the hospital she was going to. I wanted to be as well informed as possible and as prepared as possible to ask questions of the doctor. Mom was hospitalized the next day in Columbus. Surgery would have to wait a month; she needed radiation treatments to shrink the tumor. She would be in the hospital for several days and then we would make the 200 mile round trip every day for a month. Let me tell you that those rides were endless. We took turns so my father would not be burdened with the trip everyday. What do you talk about on the trips when the future is uncertain? Believe me my brother, sister and I had many conversations over this problem. I spoke with wonderful friends who had been through this themselves and with several ministers on how to deal with this. My best advice to anyone out there is talk about anything and everything.

Just as there are good days and bad days for cancer patients, there are good and bad days for the family of cancer patients. You want everything to be special because it may be your last time together and you want those precious memories of time spent together. (Although my mother would have much rather had someone else drive because I am not a big city driver!) Then the waiting part comes in. The radiation is over and surgery is scheduled. Oops! We forgot, now we must do a heart catherazation to see if her heart is strong enough to withstand the surgery. Another day on pins and needles. Yes the heart is good but now we need to do 36 hours of internal radiation. Do you know how hard that is 36 hours of not being able to see someone you love who is sick in a hospital? It is not like I am not a grown woman and can't go without seeing my mother, but when they are 100 miles away lying flat on their back in a locked room and are sick, I just wanted to go beat on the outside of her door so she knew I was there for her. Sometimes you feel roles are reversed and I am the adult and she is the child and you would do anything to take the pain away. I am sure every parent has felt that way about their child just as I am sure every child has felt that about their parents. Finally surgery is officially scheduled and we are just 5 days away. Everyone is mentally prepared and then another phone call. The blood counts are not quite right and she is not healthy enough for surgery. So we wait some more. Mom and the whole family on pins and needles again, just waiting and wondering what the outcome will be.

The day finally arrives and the surgery is completed. I think the doctor is probably scared when he comes into the consultation room to find 7 of us waiting on him to tell us how things went. He gave us the best Christmas present we could possible have this year. He said surgery went fine and they are confident that the cancer is gone. Now we just have to wait a few hours to see her. I am not sure who won the race into her room when we finally got to see her, dad, the kids or the grandkids.

She is now home and in the long recovery process. On Saturday January 14th we got great news from her doctor. NO CANCER! All the tests have now come back, and they got all the cancer. That is such joyous news to everyone in our family. It has been a long and strenuous few months on our family, but the final outcome is worth all the stressful time waiting.

As a new member to Rotary I knew a little about Rotary International. I was a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student in 1983 and I knew that they were largely responsible for wiping polio out through their Polio Plus program. Just imagine if a group of civic minded men and women can eradicate polio, what they can do to Kick Cancer right where it hurts people the most. With Rotary's help maybe the doctors of the James Cancer Research Center can put a stop to this dreadful disease and keep families from going through this awful emotional roller coaster ride. One disease at a time Rotary can make a difference in people's lives. I think of the Rotary 4-Way test when I think of cancer. Is it the truth? Yes, cancer can be deadly. Is it fair to all concerned? No, it is not fair to anyone concerned. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? No, no one has a good feeling about cancer and yes, it builds very close friendships with those who suffer together. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Yes, kicking cancer will only benefit people and hopefully before too long no one will have to live through what my family has lived through.

Questions or problems with the web site? E-mail the Cambridge Rotary Club Webmaster with your comments.
Cambridge Rotary web site created 2005.

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS!