It doesn't take much of an imagination to understand the fear that must accompany any kind of cancer diagnosis, not only for the person receiving that devastating news but also for all their loved ones and friends.

Fortunately, there are those people who inspire us all when things get tough, and one such person whom I've had the fortune of getting the chance to get to know is Lisa Lamb Vance, a.k.a "Lambchop", a hometown Oneonta, NY woman who is facing the challenge of her life - the fight against colon cancer.

Lamb-Vance received her devastating diagnosis at a young age - in her 30's, back in August of 2019. Since then, she's undergone quite a number of challenges related to losing her job, and adverse side effects experienced through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She's also had to cope with emotions related to thinking she was in remission to learning that the colon cancer had no only returned but had spread to her lungs as well.

Despite her incredible challenges that would make it very hard for any person to be positive, I have been able to witness in her a consistent emotional positivity that continues to this day, despite the fact that she's facing yet another tough surgery in the coming months to address the return of her cancer.

Marveling at her great attitude, I have asked her, "How do you do it?!" and her response is always, "I have a great support system!". She's referring to her family and friends, especially her husband Robert who all continue to be her rocks and keep her positive, especially in those dark moments. In addition to her great support system, she does have a secret weapon that helps to keep her positive - her cancer goody bag project.

Lamb-Vance started making goody bags with the help of family and friends to distract her from her cancer and knew that doing something to help others who are coping with cancer would make her feel good. At this point, she has been able to distribute over 200 goody bags to cancer patients at the Bassett Healthcare Network Cancer Center where she has been receiving treatments. These goody bags are filled with practical items like personal care products but also fun things like crossword puzzles and candy that helps to take the edge off of what she refers to as "the awful taste in your mouth from chemo or radiation".

Moving forward, Lamb-Vance is trying to get the foundation she created called "Lambchopstrong" 5013C non-profit status so that she can accept financial donations that will stay locally to support cancer patients and their families.

If you would like to assist with Lisa Lamb Vance's goody bag project or follow her positive journey through cancer, you can follow her Facebook page lambchopstrong.

If you have cancer and are looking for more support, there are virtual and in-person support groups you can join. One such local support group that is meeting monthly in-person now is the Oneonta Peer-Led Cancer Support Group. Get more information from facebook.com/OneontaCancerSupportGroup.

Bassett Healthcare Network also has support groups and you can find out more at bassett.org/services/cancer-care/cancer-support-services.

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