You may have heard a bell ring at the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center. A bell is rung as a symbol of celebration when cancer patients complete their final treatment. As the bell rings, patients and their families breathe a sigh of relief, the next chapter of their lives begins, and cancer patients who are still battling the disease receive hope and motivation.
As 21-year-old Sarah Finton contemplated the end of her cancer treatment, she felt the bell at the cancer center couldn't properly mark the milestone. She wanted a new bell for the cancer center — a bell that rang loud and strong for her and for all cancer patients who followed her, a bell that echoed the challenges and triumphs each patient experiences during their treatment, a bell that would be a fitting tribute to the journey cancer patients take.
Exactly why was this so important to Sarah? Because she couldn't imagine the end of her cancer treatment when she began her journey. In August of 2021, Sarah was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). After undergoing intensive inpatient cancer treatment in Pittsburgh for five weeks, Sarah was sent home for outpatient treatment at the Cancer Care Partnership in the Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Her outpatient treatment included infusions Monday-Friday for four weeks on, followed by four weeks off without infusions, and oral treatments for two weeks on, two weeks off. Sarah underwent four rounds of this grueling treatment cycle.
"When this started, I couldn’t imagine there would be an end to the treatments. It was so hard, and the treatment course was so long.” said Sarah. “I couldn't imagine the end."
Nevertheless, as the days ticked by and she counted down her infusion treatments and chemo pills, she was thinking about the end of her treatment and ringing that bell. With every treatment she completed, it became increasingly important to ring a bell that matched her journey.
Sarah contacted Mount Nittany Health Foundation to ask about upgrading the cancer center bell. The Foundation approached Team Ream to see if they would fund a new bell. Team Ream worked with The Colgate Field Hockey. Through a fundraising game they were able to help fund the new bell.
Sarah, a native of Centre County, had raised funds throughout her youth for Team Ream to help in their mission to ease the financial burden faced by cancer patients undergoing treatment.
"Team Ream is honored and proud to provide the funds for a new bell, especially in honor of Sarah and her journey," says Mike Martin, a member of the Team Ream Board.
After completing her last treatment on April 8, 2022, Sarah rang the newly installed bell, marking the end of her treatment with great pride.
If you would like to learn more about how Mount Nittany Health Foundation supports cancer patients or assists them in removing barriers to care, please visit foundation.mountnittany.org.