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Cancer Survivor Gives Back

September 5, 2019
When Sandi Haertig noticed something wasn’t right with her tongue, she decided without hesitation to visit the Milton J. Dance Jr. Head and Neck Center at GBMC to check it out. After battling breast cancer in 2005, Sandi knew not to ignore the signals her body was giving that something might be wrong. When her doctor at the time scheduled an appointment first thing in the morning, ahead of a holiday weekend, Sandi immediately saw the commitment and dedication from the GBMC team to help.
Sandi and her husband, Chuck, at Legacy Chase

After another prognosis of cancer, Sandi was quickly surrounded by a comprehensive care team including a social worker, dietitian, speech therapist, radiation oncologist, surgical oncologist, nurse oncologist, and her husband, Chuck. This group of doctors, staff, and family quickly assembled and met often to ensure all parties were informed with the most up-to-date information and treatment plans.

Sandi had surgery to remove the cancer from her tongue and began chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She required a feeding tube prior to radiation, since the treatment would affect her ability to eat, swallow, and talk.

Although Sandi suffered from PTSD during her second battle with cancer, her social worker and the entire GBMC team were instrumental in her positive spirit, leading to a second victory against the disease.

“From my first appointment to my yearly checkup, it is obvious that the staff isn’t just caring for you, they care about you,” explained Sandi.

Following Sandi’s treatment, she had to relearn how to swallow and talk, but has since made a full recovery. Sandi now works with her social worker to mentor other patients battling the same cancer, and has been on multiple advisory boards and committees to help give back to the cancer center that saved her life.

Since 2015, Sandi has attended Legacy Chase alongside other cancer survivors and GBMC staff and doctors. We encourage you to grab your friends and family and join Sandi on September 28th at Shawan Downs for steeplechase races, food trucks, family-friendly activities, and more! All proceeds benefit the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at GBMC. Purchase your parking pass now at
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