Join our team in supporting cancer patients in the Upstate by donating to the 12th annual Dragon Boat Upstate Festival. By making a donation in support of our Dragon Boat team, you help provide vital cancer research and survivorship programs to cancer patients in our community. So many of us have been touched by cancer in some way and this event provides a way for us to honor and remember loved ones that have faced or continue to face the disease. Make a gift to our Dragon Boat team and know that you are making a difference to cancer patients right here in the Upstate.
A few words from our inspiration and fearless leader Dr. Sharon Ben-Or:
I am originally from Baltimore and did my undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania where I majored in math and minored in chemistry. I stayed at Penn for medical school and remained in Philly for general surgery residency where my then boyfriend (now husband) went to doctorate school. I then did my cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill. After that, I took my first job at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC where I learned how to operate on the DaVinci robot. I then moved to the other Greenville to work at GHS where I specialize in robotic surgery and endoscopic treatment of tumors, especially lung cancer and esophageal cancer. I am lucky to work with residents and medical students as I feel one of the most important roles of a physician is to be a teacher to your patients, residents, and medical students. In May 2017, I had my first mammogram where an abnormality was detected. I am fortunate enough to be close friends with one of the breast radiologists who called me with the results and she got me in for a biopsy the same day. The next day, I received the results that I have breast cancer. I felt my entire world collapse around me. People say that when you are diagnosed with cancer, your life is divided into 2 chapters: before cancer and after cancer, and you try your hardest to get back to the first chapter. It’s true. It is hard to accept what is now the new normal: that I am a cancer patient. I underwent multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. What I learned from all of this is how to relate with my patients in a way that few other surgeons can. This has not been an easy process on multiple levels: from being out of work to undergoing multiple surgeries to being sick from chemotherapy. I am fortunate to have the support of my family and friends, but I really appreciated seeing my kindred spirits: other cancer patients who understand what it’s like. They get it. And now I get it. I just hope my story lets other people know that you don’t have to pretend to be strong if you don’t feel like it. It’s okay to be afraid; it’s okay to be angry; it’s okay to be sad. Don’t deny those feelings to yourself because that is the only way that you will get to the next chapter, which is survival.