Ringing in a New Lease on Life

Cancer has left an indelible mark on the Dabeck family, but this resilient crew has found a way to celebrate victories and honor those who have fought the disease, according to Donna Dabeck, manager of talent acquisition.

“My husband, Rick Novosad, has survived kidney cancer. My father has survived melanoma. Rick’s mother had bone cancer, my grandmother had bladder cancer, and my grandfather had prostate cancer,” she explained.

Several years ago, Donna’s father, Walter Dabeck, found a ship’s bell on the shore of Lake Michigan, while working for the Department of Natural Resources. It was part of a shipwreck that had floated up on the beach. He gave it to Donna to use on her houseboat, and when it was time to sell the boat, the couple wondered what to do with the bell.

Donna had read about cancer centers using a bell in their infusion centers for patients to ring when they’ve completed their chemotherapy treatments.

“I thought it would be a cool idea to have it at our NorthBay Cancer Center,” she recalled. So Donna contacted Louise Henry, clinical practice manager for Oncology, to see if the Cancer Center would accept it.

For Louise, it was an easy answer: Absolutely yes.

“The bell has a new lease on life now, and that resonates for cancer survivors,” Donna said.

Since the bell was installed in the Cancer Center’s infusion room, it has been rung, on average, about once or twice a week, Louise noted.