Real People, Real Stories

Thyroid cancer survivor

Debbie Ann Heckeroth

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002. As I’m sure anyone who has been told the words “You have Cancer” can attest too, it was the worst moment of my life. Emotions and fear run through your entire being leaving you almost paralyzed with unanswered questions. A year after treatment I was told that my cancer had metastasized and underwent several more surgeries and radiation treatments, and eventually was told that clinical trials would be my only hope.

I found another source of HOPE. It was through CanCare. I was matched with a survivor who not only survived my same type of cancer, underwent the same type of treatments, but showed me that there was life after cancer. I now had a friend who would listen to my fears without me feeling guilty for bringing down family members, and knowing that she understood me, because she once stood in my shoes.

Even though I never reach remission, and have been living with cancer now for 10 years, I am doing very well on my clinical trials and living a quality life. I have started volunteering with Can Care as a mentor to newly diagnosed survivors, and also working on several committees. Now I have a new sense of purpose and a drive to make a difference for all diagnosed with cancer while bringing hope not only to others but to myself as well.

CanCare has been serving people with cancer since 1990.  All services are confidential and free of charge.  To talk to someone surviving your diagnosis, click here.