Omaha healthcare provider celebrates Cancer Survivors’ Day in Nebraska

Friday marks Cancer Survivors Day, and six Nebraska locations celebrated with drive-thru breakfasts and free resources.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s a celebration of life for those who are fighting a tough battle.

On this Cancer Survivors’ Day in Nebraska, workers at six locations across the state spent the morning serving drive-through breakfast for cancer survivors.

A steady stream of cars weaved through the parking lot at Think Whole Person Healthcare near 72nd and West Center Road Friday morning.

Many of the survivors were willing to share their stories over a breakfast sandwich.

Some are still in the middle rounds of their fight...offering their support to each other and those who stand side by side with them as they battle cancer.

Judeane Tusa wanted to recognize her caregivers.

“I’m doing well...and I found it early and I’m being taken care of by a wonderful group of medical people, and I just feel really grateful for everything that’s happened so far,” she said.

Margaret Rebensdorf is one of those caregivers. She is a nurse practitioner with Nebraska Cancer Specialists. Margaret said she enjoys handing out goodie bags with not only a sandwich but information to help patients deal with the disease.

“I like coming because it’s kind of the happier side,” she said. “Sometimes when we’re in the clinic we have some difficult days too where we’re kind of sad that things aren’t going too well but we do like to come out here and hear like oh you’re a ten-year survivor, or you just finished treatment last week...whatever it is we just like talking to the patients and hearing their story.”

Sylvia Kostisin found out she had breast cancer after being tested.

“I had no idea until I got my mammogram, and they found the shadows on the mammogram,” she said. “So, I think getting your annual mammogram is really important because it caught it early enough that I had a pretty easy time of it actually.”

Testing is a good start, but not foolproof.

“Keep on top of things because I found it even after I had a mammogram that didn’t find it and I found it about a month and a half later,” Judeane said.

Alice Pierce had a similar experience.

“It didn’t show up on the mammogram at all and I felt a lump and I just kept pursuing that, so you really have to listen to your body and know,” she said. “And at that time, they didn’t think it was cancer but when we went in and did a biopsy, then it was cancer.”

Kent Swain found out he had cancer during the pandemic. He said men also need regular checks.

“Getting diagnosed early I was kind of surprised that it’s not a regular part of the medical checkup of men aged 50 plus, which obviously I’m in but hopefully it will be standard procedure from here on in.”

“It’s a long road for them and we’re happy to be on that road with them, on the journey helping them get through it,” Margaret said.

Some pamphlets were included with the breakfast sandwiches for patients with information on financial assistance, peer mentoring programs, and guides to services.