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Bridge at Canalside now a symbol of hope in the fight against cancer

Thomas O'Neil-White

Symbols of hope are an important part of the fight against cancer, and now one is part of the downtown Buffalo waterfront.

On Wednesday morning, the Commercial Street Bridge at Canalside was renamed the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bridge of Hope. The bridge honors whose who have taken on and beaten cancer.

Maureen Kelly, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Roswell Park and a cancer survivor, herself, said there is a long road ahead of people who defeat the disease.

“Although treatment has ended for our patients who ring that bell, the journey does not end for many of us,” said “We live with fear, wondering if the cancer is coming back. We live with hope, praying that this will be the last time that I will have to fight this battle.”

Standing by the bridge, cancer survivor Averl Anderson said the renaming means a lot to her.

“Celebrations like this one call attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship and provide a chance for us to rejoice together. This dedication of this bridge demonstrates a meaningful appreciation for survivors and it’s a blessing,” said Anderson.

The bridge was decorated with ornamental bells, hung by other survivors. The ringing of a bell often signifies a patient’s completion of treatment. Earlier this year, a bell was dedicated in the lobby of Roswell Park for just that purpose.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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