Monday, March 5, 2012

Vince Papale Comes to Geisinger for Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Vince  Papale, whose life story came to the big screen in the movie Invincible by Walt Disney Pictures, kicked off Colon Cancer Awareness Month this past weekend at Geisinger Medical Center. Papale was diagnosed with Stage 1 colon cancer 10 years ago and is now advocate for early screening.

Around 4 years ago, I was involved in the Central Susquehanna Colon Cancer Task Force.  Our group was involved in advocacy and tried to promote one project per year toward advocacy and awareness of colon cancer screening.  Bringing Papale to the Central Susquehanna Valley was on the drawing board for our group, but sponsorship was at a minimum.   However, a phone call to me this past fall by the American Cancer Society indicated that there was interest in the project again.  I gave ACS the information on contacting Papale and along with the Geisinger Medical Center, the project came to be this past weekend.

Papale, who spoke for an hour, was able to incorporate his life story and how it relates to cancer survival.  Papale spoke about his fathers hauling "bootleg coal" from Mount Carmel in the 1930's and also mentioned local Super Bowl champion, Henry Hynoski twice in his speech.

A touching moment came when Papale talked about his mother who suffered from mental illness and treatment in that field was light years away from what it is now.  Papale when talking about his mother and father and two coaches in his life, spoke clearly from his heart.  From observing the interaction with his wife Janet, she is his rock.

After the talk and ensuing panel discussion, both Vince and Janet Papale were able to sign their book, Be Invincible for the crowd.  While waiting in line, a woman told me that her 13-year old son lost his colon a day before due to ulcerative colitis.  She said the Papale's visited and spent time with him in the Janet Weis Children's Hospital.  Although I had an idea a few years ago which took the help of others to get done, I still have a smile on my face. 

It is the one boy lying in hospital bed that a man and woman like Vince and Janet Papale could inspire to dream and give hope to...........Be Invincible!!!!!!!!!

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