Local Cancer Survivor Supports Others, Named Hero of Hope

A reassuring voice on the phone can go a long way in helping a cancer patient. When breast cancer struck Linda Polly out of the blue, a friend told her to call the American Cancer Society’s National Cancer Information Center.

Linda Polly, 2012 American Cancer Society Hero of Hope

“They calmed me down,” said Linda. “I had very little cancer in my family. It blew me away when they found the spot because I couldn’t feel it.” The staff mailed her information on cancer, and Linda was able to take the ‘questions to ask your doctor’ to her very next appointment. “I went back and learned the terms. I wanted to know up-front what was going on.”

Her friend helped Linda fight back from the beginning through Relay For Life. Linda remembers doing the Survivors’ Lap and wearing the purple shirt just one day after her first chemotherapy treatment. She went home to rest and came back for the Luminaria Ceremony.

“That night it became very important for me to be there,” she said. “It became personal. Cancer became personal to me.”

Little did they know Linda would chair the Relay nine years later and contribute to a swift $20,000 in growth.

But that’s not the only way Linda fights back. Knowing how much a phone call can help, Linda wanted to do more for others in her situation. For the past five years she has encouraged other patients on their journey to get well through the Society’s Reach to Recovery breast cancer support program.

“Until you go through it you don’t know,” said Linda. “I lost my hair; I was very sick. I wanted to help and let others know to mark off every treatment they get. I can make someone’s life a little bit easier if I can share hope. That’s how I chose to make something good out of something that wasn’t so positive in my life.”

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