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The sound of victory rings out at Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Avery Schneider

Patients at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute have a new way to mark victories in the fight against cancer, thanks to the generosity of a survivor.

Three and a half years ago, Janice Trudnowski was diagnosed with brain cancer and a life expectancy of no more than two years. It was an experience that impacted her life dramatically.

“Your whole schedule changes, your whole routine flips upside down,” described Trudnowski. “You have a whole new norm of life which is working around getting shots, injections, chemo and radiation.”

Today, Trudnowsk is a former patient at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Trudnowski went through 33 rounds of chemotherapy to fight her brain cancer and when she was done she celebrated.

“I swore that I would run through the fountains of Roswell, and I did,” Trudnowski said with a smile.

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
Janice Trudnowski displays photos of her running through the fountains of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in celebration of the end of her treatment for brain cancer.

Trudnowski knows that running through the fountains is not a celebration everyone can take part in, given Buffalo’s winter weather and the usual legal reasons. For all the other patients fighting cancer and her fellow survivors, Trudnowski wanted to give them a way to celebrate, so she donated a victory bell.

Trudnowski said she wants others to experience the same feeling of joy she had when she was done with her treatment.

“They can ring this bell and know that they’re done and that they’re on their next part of their journey,” explained Trudnowski. “That the treatment part is done, now the healing is happening, and you go on with your life and live your life.”

The bell now hangs in the lobby of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where patients are free to ring it. 11 year old Anna Mett of West Seneca did just that on Tuesday.

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
(From left) Denise Mett stands with her 11 year old daughter Anna and the rest of their family on the day Anna finished chemotherapy and rang the victory bell.

Mett has been receiving intravenous chemotherapy for cancer since she was 8 years old. Her mother, Denise, said the end of Anna’s treatment comes with a mix of relief, excitement, and a sense of nervousness. She described is as “the end of a lot of struggles. A lot of new normal.”

Denise Mett said the family was thrown into a situation that caused their lives to change in the blink of an eye. “I’m glad it’s over with, hopefully forever,” said Mett.

Inspired by her own bout with brain cancer, Trudnowski helped create the Grey Matters Foundation of New York, a non-profit organization dedicated to fundraising for brain cancer survivors, and spreading awareness of the disease. She said as long as she’s in good shape, she’ll continue the fight cancer and educate other people.

The victory bell hangs in the lobby of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It bears a short poem by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Irve Le Moyne titled “Ringing Out”: Ring this bell Three times well Its toll to clearly say, “My treatment’s done This course is run And I am on my way!”
Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

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Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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