Inaugural walk, run benefits New Milford Hospital’s cancer center
Updated 8:59 am, Thursday, October 1, 2015
NEW MILFORD — A group of cancer survivors on Oct. 31 plan to help strengthen the center that enabled them to fight the disease.
Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. for the run and at 9 a.m. for the walk.
The 5K run is set for 9:30 a.m., while the 3K walk is set for 10 a.m.
The event will also feature music, children’s activities and food and drink vendors.
The walk had been scheduled for Oct. 3 but was postponed due to a forecast of inclement weather.
Cancer survivor Bette-Lou Emmons of New Milford credits the Diebold Family Cancer Center’s caring staff as well as its Integrative Medicine program for her current good health.
Emmons underwent radiation and chemotherapy at the center after receiving a cancer diagnosis in 2014. She is now back riding her horses and enjoying life.
“My family has been in New Milford for over 30 years,” Emmons said. “I’ve finally found the jewel in the town’s crown. Thanks to the staff at the cancer center, I’m still here. They saved my life. No doubt about it.”
Tim O’Donnell of Warren first went to a clinic in New York City for cancer treatment after his diagnosis in 2013 but soon found the experience too impersonal.
“As soon as I walked through the door of the Diebold Family Cancer Center, I knew I belonged there,” O’Donnell said. “I felt they genuinely cared about me.”
O’Donnell received concurrent chemotherapy and radiation treatment and a variety of supportive services, including acupuncture. Now his treatment is finished and he’s back enjoying the woods around his Warren home of 17 years, gardening and golfing.
“The nurses are the backbone of the center,” he said. “They made me feel safe. They took a personal interest and went to bat for me. I’ll never forget what they did.”
New Milford business owner Bonni Manning has a similar story. Diagnosed with cancer this year, she first had surgery in New York, then went to the Diebold Family Cancer Center for radiation therapy.
“I chose to stay close to home for my therapy. At first, I didn’t know what to expect,” Manning said. “But from the first day, I was greeted with a big hug. The staff is like a big family. Very personal care, everybody knows your name.”
The cancer center opened at New Milford Hospital in 1999. It was named in 2012 the Diebold Family Cancer Center in honor of the Diebold family from Roxbury. The Diebold Foundation and estate of the late Dorothy Diebold has donated a total of $4 million to the hospital for cancer-treatment technology.