Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg and the WVU Cancer Institute at GMH celebrated a special day on Sept. 16 when Mary Starcher, a 46-year-old Hardy County resident, participated in the “ringing of the bell,” marking the end of her chemotherapy cancer treatment.
“Ringing of the bell” is a big deal to cancer patients, as well as caregivers, as it’s a milestone, one celebrating the end of a tough chapter. Starcher is officially the first person at the hospital’s new Cancer and Infusion Center to ring the bell, a new tradition at GMH and one that takes place at other WVU Cancer Institutes across the region.
She was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the colon in October 2021. She had surgery in January 2022 and initial chemotherapy at a Virginia facility. In June 2022, she decided to move her treatments to GMH to be closer to home.
Providing care, close to home, to the people served is part of the cancer center’s mission. While receiving treatment, patients are able to stay connected with their family and friends. A strong support system is key to recovery.
“I’m so glad I came here,” Starcher said. “The nurses have been wonderful. It was so nice being close to home.”
“It’s a blessing people can now have chemotherapy in their own community,” Kelly Smith-Riggleman, PA-C, a cancer provider at GMH, said. “We should provide medical care where people live whenever possible.”
Smith-Riggleman also indicated that Starcher finished her last six cycles at GMH, has reached the end of her treatment, and GMH will continue to support her 100 percent through her cancer journey.
Since opening in January 2022, the Cancer and Infusion Center at GMH has had an overwhelmingly positive response from patients and the community.