Survivor Gives Back
MOUNDSVILLE — Patricia Weinschenker of Moundsville became involved with Marshall County Relay for Life almost two decades ago. At the time, she didn’t know how much that mission would later impact her on a personal level.
After a routine mammogram appointment in November 2010, she received frightening news.
“When they called me into the office and said ‘You have breast cancer,’ it felt like the whole floor had fallen out beneath me,” Weinschenker said.
Then came a series of tests, a surgery and eventually early morning radiation treatments five days a week at Wheeling Hospital’s Schiffler Cancer Center.
“It was hard because the treatments were scheduled at 7:30 a.m. and I scheduled myself to work night turn, so I would have treatment, work and come home to sleep. The doctors will tell you there’s no reason to be fatigued from the radiation but it is fatiguing. It works on you mentally, the fact that even on your days off you have to wake up and prepare for that.”
Now retired, Weinschenker finds support and solidarity with her fellow Marshall County Relay for Life team members from the Marshall County Educational Outreach Service and other volunteers.
“I’ve always been community-minded and it was a way to give back to the community,” she said. “After you’re diagnosed, you feel very invested, especially when you have people on your team that are going through the same thing. The sense of doing something to help others is important and it’s a good way to spend time with friends.”
Weinschenker said she now urges everyone she knows to have regular mammograms, as breast cancer has not only affected her, but her sister, Connie Majewski, who was diagnosed with the disease in August and will begin treatment in October.
“I can’t stress how important these appointments are,” Weinschenker said. “I know it’s awful and people hate them, but it’s not really a big deal, especially when it will save your life.”
Susie Hinerman, a physical therapy aid for WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital and survivor activities chair for Marshall County Relay for Life, said Weinschenker is passionate about every aspect of the breast cancer issue.
“She has the passion for Relay for Life because as a nurse, she’s been impacted by cancer in many ways, even before her diagnosis. It doesn’t spare anybody,” Hinerman said. “The more awareness we get out there, the more funding and research there will be for breast cancer.”