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Health & Medicine

CNY Cancer Survivors "Ring in" the NYS Fair, Raising Awareness About Screenings and Early Detection

Scott Willis


  If you happen to be in the science and industry building at the New York State Fair, you may hear the occasional ringing of a seven inch polished brass bell.  Nine-year-old Madeline Pointer of Holland Patent was the first to enthusiastically ring the bell Thursday at Upstate Medical University’s exhibit.  Her mother Kelly says the little girl is a seven year kidney cancer survivor.  

"We almost lost her three different times during treatment," Pointer said.  "Then the treatment itself almost took her life when she was done because we're still dealing with very old medicine.  There hasn't been any new medicine for pediatric cancer in many years.  We're hoping this kind of awareness will create more funding for research for better cures and more cures." 

Matthew Capogreco is a survivor and program and events coordinator at Upstate’s Cancer Center.  

"We often talk about hope, but we don't necessarily define it," Capogreco said.  "People need to see there's this other side of cancer, which is survival.  We're doing better with survival, helping people get through it, get past it.  We want them to celebrate that."

He hears the bell all the time from his office, and thought the fair would be a great venue to publicly cheer on survivors.  The next survivor to ring the bell was 65-year-old Harry Buck of Utica…

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Harry Buck of Utica was the second survivor to ring the bell.

"I've had three bouts with cancer," Buck said.  "I had the tumor in my neck diagnosed about 6 months ago.  I just gone done with radiation and chemotherapy.  I'm not free yet.  I've still got cancer in my throat.  They'll probably operate on that eventually.  I'm hanging in there.   I'm very strong.”               

Buck admits he still gets winded and dizzy at times.  The bell is also intended to serve as a reminder to be vigilant with cancer screenings, which are key in early detection and survival.