PEASLEEVILLE - When Jennifer Ano-Ryba's brother, Au Sable Forks native Roy Ano, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, it was something that came completely out of left field.
"It was just such a shock," she recalled. "He just didn't feel good, so he went in for some blood tests and it wasn't until he pressured for more tests that they found it."
Doctors found what Ano-Ryba described as an "aggressive growing leukemia" and immediately took action, she said.
"He was told he had it and within a few hours he was an in-patient at Fletcher Allen [HealthCare]," she said. "By noon the next day, he was on chemotherapy."
The 55-year-old Ano - a counselor at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora for more than 20 years - underwent seven days of treatments, some days being 24 hours a day, said Ano-Ryba. According to a bone marrow test, the treatments have apparently eradicated her brother's cancer, but have left his immune system virtually nonexistent while his body recovers.
"It looks like the cancer is gone, but now he's battling pneumonia and infections that have set in," Ano-Ryba said.
The next month will involve Ano staying in a sterile room at the Burlington hospital while he immune system rebuilds, said his sister. Having limited contact has been tough on him and the family, she said, but overall, Ano's demeanor has been good.
"He's trying to stay as upbeat as possible," said Ano-Ryba.
Ano's family organized a benefit at American Legion Post 504 in Au Sable Forks Feb. 12, which helped raise awareness for his condition and money to help his family.
"We had a good turnout," said Ano-Ryba, who noted her brother couldn't be there for the benefit as he was and still is a patient at Fletcher Allen. "We had a lot of support from the community."