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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

“When my mom was given that pillow before surgery, we all cried,” said Kayla Reichle, daughter of breast cancer patient Veronica Reichle, 53, of Scranton. “In that moment it became very real. Mom had cancer and this was just the beginning.” Veronica was the first patient at Geisinger Community Medical Center to receive a handmade breast pillow created by Abington Heights high school students from teacher Casey Myrkalo’s vocational class. “The day I went in for surgery – a double mastectomy - I was anxious and scared. When the nurses handed me this pillow, the emotional flood gates opened and the tears flowed,” explained Veronica, pictured at left, with cancer surgeon Dr. Portia Siwawa. The Abington students have so far stitched and donated over 120 pillows to breast cancer patients at Geisinger Community Medical Center and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. The pillows alleviate some of the pain and discomfort of breast cancer sufferers who have undergone a mastectomy and protect patients from painful bumps and bruises. When Veronica, who has already endured chemotherapy and is about to start radiation treatments, thinks back to the first time she held her pillow, it reminds her of how far she has come. “It’s been a long journey and I’m thankful that I have this pillow. I sleep with it every night. I just love it.” To Ms. Mrykalo and the students at Abington Heights who spent countless hours with needles and thread sewing the pillows for breast cancer patients, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Veronica Reichle with cancer surgeon Dr. Portia Siwawa
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