When Mark Morris, 45, started to become ill, he went to his family physician to further investigate why the sickness was becoming more aggressive. In December of 2009, Mark was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“I had become very sick,” Mark said. “I kept coughing and was always tired. My doctor wanted to look into it more. After getting a biopsy done, that’s when we found out.”
Mark’s treatment began at Strecker on January 5, 2010 and lasted for more than nine weeks. His treatment was successful. Mark says he feels really fortunate for coming such a long way and having a positive diagnosis. “It’s remarkable that such a small community like Marietta could give such great treatment,” Mark said. “Most people don’t realize how lucky we are to have these resources available so close to home—I can’t imagine having to travel far away for treatments being that sick.”
On Friday, July 27, 2012, Strecker Cancer Center received a unique gift. After receiving his successful treatment at Strecker, Mark and his wife Karen decided to donate a large bell for cancer patients who have finished their treatments and are beginning their new lives.
The idea derived from a cancer center in their hometown of Indiana. Mark’s sister-in-law was going through treatment there. “My wife’s sister became ill,” Mark said. “After dealing with treatments, we went to visit her for her last day of chemotherapy and that’s when we first heard about the bell. It was such an emotional experience for us all. The symbolic act when she walked out and rang the bell truly solidified that this is the end of cancer and a start of a new life. It’s time to get better.”
Mark and Karen Morris wanted to offer the same renewing experience to be available for the cancer patients in Marietta. Mark said he wanted the “dig in and persevere” symbolic act of walking out of the last treatment and ringing the bell.
“Cancer does not define who you are,” said Mark. “It cannot dictate your life because there are better things out there after you recover. The bell is symbolic of that process ending.”
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