Five-Time Cancer Survivor Honored|
Reno, NV (May 13, 2008)- Renown Health honored five-time cancer survivor Sally de Lipkau with the dedication of the Sally de Lipkau Cancer Resource Center in the Renown Institute for Cancer at Renown Regional Medical Center. de Lipkau has dedicated many years of service as an inspiration and a voice to cancer patients and survivors at Renown.
Since 2001 Renown Health Foundation has received more than $25,000 in celebration of de Lipkau and her survivorship. These funds were used to open the resource center, which includes two computers, a printer, books and magazines. The center offers a full-time concierge and provides access to cancer resource and program information, a quiet place to make care decisions and reflect on inspirational poetry.
"Sally's story is more than an inspiration to cancer patients, it's motivation," said Jim Miller, President and CEO, Renown Health. "It is Renown's hope that every patient, survivor or family member that visits the Sally de Lipkau Cancer Resource Center will be touched by this motivation and will find, on an individual basis, the support they need to continue on through their cancer journey."
Sally de Lipkau's survivor story
de Lipkau has survived breast cancer twice, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, and cancerous tumors on her face. Her survival story was published in "Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul" as one of the 101 Stories of Courage and Inspiration from Those Who Have Survived Cancer.
During her time as an employee at Renown, de Lipkau was very involved with cancer patients and their families. She co-facilitated a weekly cancer support group, provided personal consultations, and coordinated the "I Can Cope" program for the American Cancer Society.
"It is a daily privilege to share my cancer history with patients in an effort to encourage and motivate them in their cancer journeys," said de Lipkau. "The support groups, the weekly and monthly blood cancer group, the gynecological cancer group and bi-monthly care giver's groups are the inspiration and motivation for why I continue this satisfying work which I intend to do as long as it is needed."
de Lipkau was a big part of the Reach to Recovery program in Reno where she visited newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and helped provide a positive picture for them. As a cancer patient advocate, de Lipkau testified before the Nevada Legislature in 1983 to help pass a bill that mandated insurance companies covering mastectomies to also cover reconstructive surgeries as well.
In 2004, her efforts were noticed by the Nevada Women's Fund and she was inducted her into their Hall of Fame. She was recognized for her outstanding achievements and efforts in improving the lives of women and families in the community.
In 1979, de Lipkau faced her first battle with cancer as she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within four days of her diagnosis, she had a modified radical mastectomy. Eighteen months later, de Lipkau discovered another lump in her other breast and had another mastectomy.
Three years after de Lipkau's second mastectomy, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and underwent 15 months of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation.
She beat leukemia and remained healthy until a regular check-up in May of 2001 revealed large tumors on both ovaries and a tumor on her pancreas. After many diagnostic tests and exploratory surgery, de Lipkau was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The cancer had metastasized to the ovaries making it inoperable. de Lipkau was told by doctors that she had only six months to live.
She received treatment while still working at Renown and despite her condition, continued to visit patients and offer support as she co-facilitated a support group.
After eight months, de Lipkau finally received good news. While attending a presentation by a surgeon from the University of California-San Francisco, de Lipkau's oncologist asked the surgeon to review de Lipkau's records. The surgeon recommended surgery and in April 2003, de Lipkau underwent an eight-hour surgery where one-quarter of her pancreas, her entire duodenum, a portion of her small intestine and her gallbladder were removed.
Five bouts with cancer later, de Lipkau is living proof that diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.
"I attribute getting well and keeping well to a strong will to live, a blazing determination, a sense of purpose, and a sense of festivity," said de Lipkau. "And after my last cancer experience, I added believing in miracles."