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Once facing grim diagnosis, cancer survivor now reaches out to others

Brian Angell of Thurman, who was diagnosed last May with stage four colon cancer, took a few moments Monday Sept. 26 to reflect on his journey with the illness, and how his outlook has changed. Angell is now headed back to work after 16 months of treatment and recovery.

Brian Angell of Thurman, who was diagnosed last May with stage four colon cancer, took a few moments Monday Sept. 26 to reflect on his journey with the illness, and how his outlook has changed. Angell is now headed back to work after 16 months of treatment and recovery. Photo by Thom Randall.

— His wife Diane said he had made the commitment to go, and he wanted to participate to help others in need despite his impending treatment.

A few weeks after his chemotherapy began, he decided to reach out to others who had also been diagnosed with cancer.

Fighting recurring nausea and fatigue, he for months visited other cancer victims, to give them some comradeship and provide solace.

“If someone with cancer hears from someone who got through the treatments, it is a heck of an encouragement boost,” Angell said. “It’s like, ‘If he can do it, I can too.’”

Angell added he is now also more attuned of other’s afflictions after experiencing an outpouring of caring and concern from others in the community. In October, people from all walks of life filled the Masonic Hall for a fundraiser to boost the Angell family’s spirit and finances.

“People have been so thoughtful and helped us out so much,” Angell said. “This support from the community helped us out tremendously.”

Experiencing that support, he said, prompted him to reach out more often to others in need, including attending fundraising events for people facing hardships, like his family had.

“Before, I may have thought I was too busy to go, and now I make sure I attend,” he said.

Angell noted that his two daughters, Julie, 15 and Kelly 11, both helped out at home when he was bedridden. Julie cut the grass for her dad, while Kelly took on extra chores.

They both kept quiet so their father could sleep or rest. They also devoted extra efforts on their schoolwork, Angell recalled.

After finishing with her cheerleading practice Monday, Julie Angell said she had been worried about losing her dad, as she knew her grandfather died from the same malady.

Her dad’s sickness weighed on her, she said.

“I missed birthdays and holidays with him,” she said, noting he was hospitalized over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“But it’s really cool to have him totally back now,” she added, breaking into a grin.

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