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'They've given me everything'

Harrington's Cancer Center celebrates its first anniversary

Cancer survivor Dorothy Dematto, left, is applauded by Diane Becquart, Director of the Cancer Center at Harrington Hospital, after Dematto spoke at the celebration for the center’s one-year anniversary. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
December 09, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The Cancer Center at Harrington Hospital celebrated its one-year anniversary Wednesday by throwing a small informal party that was attended by cancer patients, survivors and hospital staff.

The center, which is not physically connected to the hospital, offered a serene atmosphere that night, as a harp player quietly performed in the corner and a waterfall wall separated the waiting room from the secretarial desk.

The center, which opened on Dec. 7, 2009, is a "one-stop shopping center" for cancer patients, according to hospital marketing and public relations director, Tom Nutile. Not only can patients receive physical treatment, they receive treatment on how to life their lives with cancer.

"My work with the patients here is two-fold," explained Nicole Desabrais, a Harrington Cancer Center social worker. "I work with them on their concrete and emotional needs. Their concrete needs are things like insurance, finances and transportation. Their emotional needs are based on how to live their lives with cancer."

During a patient's first consultation with Desabrais, she determines where they are in their treatment and assess their needs from that point on.

"How often I meet with patients is different from person to person," she explained. "Some people meet with me only once, while others I meet with weekly. I work with a fantastic and dedicated team that I am honored to work with. The best part of my job is seeing the success people get through their treatment and when they become stronger. They are humbling to be around. I've learned a lot about living through these people."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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