May 22, 2020 1:00 PM

Chadron Hospital presented with first 'Cancer bell' by St. Mary's in Rushville

Posted May 22, 2020 1:00 PM

By Lea Griese, Chadron Community Hospital

Julie and John Krotz, Sharon Rickenbach, Arlene and Dale Wellnitz and Dr. Bjorling present Chadron Community Hospital their first cancer bell donated by St. Mary’s Holly Episcopal Church in Rushville, NE.  Besides marking the end of treatment, patients can ring the bell to celebrate other milestones like receiving a scan that shows improvement, undergoing tests that confirm the cancer is under control or even celebrating a birthday. 

Arlene Wellnitz, “From experience I can tell you that it is a very uplifting tradition that I’d like to see started at the Chadron Community Hospital.  So Dale and I ordered a bell, and then in the mail I received a very generous gift from Holly Episcopal Church, whose mission is to help people dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses.  In the letter I was told to spend the money in any way that would give me joy, so I’d like to use their donation for the bell and a plaque with the following inscription:

               Donated by Holly Episcopal Church

               Rushville, NE

               To celebrate each landmark in your cancer journey.”

The bell will be hung by the infusion area in the upper level of the hospital so our medical team can in turn give joy by encouraging patients to ring the bell “to celebrate each landmark in their cancer journey”, which might include not only finishing chemotherapy, but also completion of a certain time period of maintenance therapy.

Dr. Bjorling is a Regional West Oncologist that holds clinic at Chadron twice a month on Wednesdays.  Celebrating milestones in treatment is important to patients.  It’s a relief that the week-to-week grind of chemotherapy is over and gives the patient a sense of accomplishment.  It’s also encouraging to other patients to hear the bell, it lets them know a goal has been accomplished, a chapter is over. 

Lea Griese CCH Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator adds, “We are very grateful to receive such a thoughtful gift from the Holly Episcopal Church and Arlene.  Not only will it be a celebration for patients to ring the bell, but it will be nice for staff to hear the bell ringing in our halls.  It’s a wonderful way to let our medical team know that they are appreciated and making a difference in the lives of our patients.”