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Physician and cancer survivor to address annual event

Oncologist and cancer survivor Mary Raab will speak at the annual Cancer Survivorship Day Oct. 16.
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Oct. 1, 2004)   —   Dr. Mary Raab will be the featured speaker during the 11th annual Cancer Survivorship Day celebration Oct. 16th at Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.

The annual free event celebrates cancer survivors in all phases of their battle with the disease from currently receiving treatment to years of being cancer-free.

The program will begin at 9:30 a.m. with registration and will end at 1 p.m., with all activities being held at Lake Laupus. In addition to Raab’s inspirational speech, the local "hero of the year" will be announced.

“"This year, the center has planned a week of activities for our patients to celebrate survivorship. Dr. Mary Raab will also be honored during this week for her commitment to the center and her dedication to patients. Dr. Mary is well-known by all for her academic and clinical excellence, as well as her endless compassion for her patients,”" said Phyllis DeAntonio, cancer center administrator.

Raab was chosen to give the featured address to the cancer survivors attending because of her commitment to the cancer center throughout her career in eastern North Carolina and her own battle with breast cancer.

Raab arrived in eastern North Carolina in 1977 with her late husband, Dr. Spencer Raab, to become founding faculty members of the young medical school's oncology section.

She worked with tireless effort to help establish the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center in Greenville and has traveled to treat cancer patients throughout eastern North Carolina.

Seeing patients often drive in from as far away as Nags Head and Morehead City, Raab offered an alternative: “Dr. Mary,” as she’s called by many of her patients, would take health care to the patient. As a result, the ECU School of Medicine began outreach clinics to treat cancer patients closer to home.

By the late 1980s, the Raabs had formed outreach clinics in Washington, Jacksonville, Morehead City, Plymouth and Belhaven. Treating patients, teaching students and giving lectures, the Raabs brought integrated cancer therapy, with chemotherapy, radiation, preventive care and education, to eastern North Carolina. The husband-and-wife team was critical in developing the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center, which now serves more than 6,000 people a year. Spencer Raab died in 1993.

In 2001, Raab and her husband, Dr. William McConnell, were recognized for leading the fund-raising drive to bring the American Cancer Society’s McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge to Greenville to serve patients receiving treatment at the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center. The local facility opened for patients in May 2002.

Raab, a clinical professor of medicine, still sees patients at the medical school but has announced plans to retire soon. She has also served as PCMH chief of medical staff, assistant director of admissions at the medical school and medical director of hematology and oncology clinical services at the medical school.

The Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center will mark cancer survivorship week with the following activities for survivors and their families:

•--Oct. 12, 11:30 a.m-1 p.m., Hope Lodge Conference Room, 903 Wellness Drive, Greenville. “What Cancer Survivors Need to Know About Health Insurance,” a lecture on obtaining and collecting insurance benefits and on learning about legal issues regarding disability benefits. Lunch included. Call 847-6664 to register.

•--Oct. 13, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Hope Lodge Conference Room. “Fighting Fatigue,” a lecture with practical information on how to fight fatigue and control pain. Lunch included. Call 847-6664 to register.

•--Oct. 14, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Hope Lodge Conference Room. “Communicating with your Health Care Practitioner and Strategies for Self Advocacy,” a lecture that will help cancer survivors explore various aspects of the patient-provider relationship, such as the challenges of communicating with healt


Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 252-744-2481