Letter: Look Homeward, ‘Valley News’

To the Editor:

On April 29, the front page of the Close-Up section carried a moving story of a lovely young woman who is a breast cancer survivor and a lawyer in Washington (“Riding As If Her Life Depended On It.”) The story was picked off The Washington Post wire. I no longer work at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, where our work included helping to get the Prouty bike ride together every summer, yet the placing of that article — even after all my years away — set my blood boiling. Why?

A quick call to the incredible group that makes the Prouty ride happen, who have grown the event to extraordinary heights, would have put you in touch with as many cancer survivors as you would have liked. They could have told their stories about diagnosis, treatment (perhaps including Herceptin), bike riding, etc. You could also have been put in touch with the most remarkable breast cancer clinicians and researchers, right here at Norris Cotton, if you wanted to dig a bit deeper on the subject.

Beyond that, when I was a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, I had a great group leader who masterfully guided us through our projects. Some years later, she, too, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through all the necessary treatment and happily now is back to road racing (Boston Marathon in three-plus hours), riding her bicycle (most likely the Prouty again this year) and skiing. What a phenomenal story hers would be!

There are so many local stories as incredible as this one from The Washington Post that could be carried in the Valley News and therefore would make even more of an impact. Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Norris Cotton are such a treasure trove. Why pull stuff off the wire when the material in your own backyard is at least as richer or even richer?

Judith Rocchio



Riding As If Her Life Depended On It

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nearing the end of chemotherapy for breast cancer, I peppered my oncologist with questions about how to prevent a recurrence. Should I avoid soy products? Processed foods? What about alcohol? I’d been surfing the Web looking for information. My doctor gently interrupted and said plainly, “If you want to prevent a recurrence, you need to get your weight into a …