Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine marks 20th anniversary

Published Dec 26, 2017 at 4:00pm

The “20 Years of Hope” celebration to mark Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine’s 20th anniversary of providing cancer radiation treatment in Rome, was held Dec. 6 at The Beeches Inn and Conference Center on Turin Road. 

The luncheon event, attended by more than 150 past and present patients, family members and guests, was held to honor Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Linda Schicker, and her staff. David Lundquist, president and CEO of Rome Memorial Hospital, presented Dr. Schicker with a plaque to commemorate the anniversary.

“Dr. Schicker and her staff have established a reputation in this community not only for their first rate clinical care, but also for the emotional and compassionate support they provide to their patients,” Lundquist said. “They give their patients so much more than just medical treatment… they give them hope.”

Dr. Schicker expressed her gratitude to those attending and added that being able to see so many of her patients doing well years after treating them was the most wonderful gift.

“I used to think that getting old was a bad thing,” Dr. Schicker told the audience at the luncheon, “but one thing I have learned from my patients is that it is a privilege to grow old, a privilege that many people don’t get to enjoy. For that, I thank all of you for showing me what is important in life.” 

Patient Al Pallas spoke at the luncheon. He shared his story of how his urologist had presented him with three options to treat his prostate cancer. He chose to be treated at Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine.

“I am 90-years-old and I am a cancer survivor because of Dr. Linda Schicker,” Pallas said.

Some more of Dr. Schicker’s patients appeared in a video that was screened at the luncheon, sharing their appreciation for the doctor and her staff.

Richard Allen, the husband of the very first patient treated at Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine in 1997, spoke of how his wife had received treatment at several other facilities but was so happy when Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine opened in Rome and she no longer had to travel far from home.

He explained that the treatment she received relieved her pain to the point where she was able to spend time at the casino with her sister and even get up and dance with her husband at a special event. “They really helped reduce her pain and improve her quality of life,” Allen said. 

Sandra Wright said her cancer diagnosis was like a “punch in the face,” but Dr. Schicker’s compassionate care gave her strength. “Whatever Dr. Schicker told me to do, I did,” she said. “She gave me the confidence to know that I have the strength to get through anything.”

Marleah Gulla was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer when she was just 21-years-old, and was told she had less than two years to live. That was eight years ago. Today she travels, appreciates being able to spend time with her family and even went skydiving. Gulla said she never allowed cancer to change the way she lives her life.

Gulla said that going to her daily treatments at Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine was the “only fun part” of having cancer. She really appreciates Dr. Schicker’s continued support for her “seize the day” outlook on life. Gulla now offers encouragement to others facing a similar diagnosis by saying the only way to face their disease is with a sense of hope for the future.

Rome Hospital opened Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine in 1997 to meet the needs of local cancer patients.  Since daily treatments often last two to eight weeks, the practice offers patients in Rome and the surrounding communities the convenience of being able to get radiation therapy close to home. 

Located at 107 E. Chestnut St., Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine works together with patients and their referring physician to develop an individualized treatment plan.

For more information, contact Mohawk Valley Radiation Medicine at 315-338-0897 or visit www.romehospital.org.