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Gail Mariano

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Gail Mariano at Norwich University's "Fill the Rink with Pink" Fundraiser

Gail Mariano (2nd from right) at Norwich University's "Fill the Rink with Pink" Fundraiser. "I dropped the puck with another breast cancer survivor and as I was walking off the rink I looked up and my whole radiation team was there to support me."

“Even before I was diagnosed, I told my doctor in Randolph that I wanted to go to DHMC,” said Northfield’s Gail Mariano. “Dr. Mason was my surgeon and recommended CVMC since they just opened a week after my surgery. I trusted him, so I went to CVMC.” The proximity of CVMC also allowed Gail’s husband Tony to be with her, which was very important to both Gail and her husband.

Gail remembered walking into the National Life Cancer Treatment Center the first day and encountering a family laughing with staff in the reception area. The staff had just presented a diploma to the woman for finishing her treatment. Gail’s first thought was “how can this be?”

Anytime anyone hears cancer, it can be devastating. By coming to CVMC and being with this group...it wasn’t devastating. The environment was warm and welcoming.

~Gail Mariano

Throughout her treatment Gail figured it out. “I realized that this can be a positive experience— the whole staff at the cancer center really looks at the whole picture,” said Gail. “The entire staff was so encouraging, professional, and compassionate—they became an extended part of our family.”

The whole picture really came into focus for Gail during a Norwich University Women’s Hockey Game, “Fill the Rink with Pink,” which donates money to the fight against Breast Cancer.  “I dropped the puck with another breast cancer survivor,” recalled Gail, “and when I was walking off the rink, I looked up and my whole Radiation team was there to support me.”

Gail’s husband Tony explained what it was like for him while Gail was going through her treatments. “Anytime anyone hears cancer, it can be devastating. One day at a time and you deal with it. What I’ll remember most is that by coming to CVMC and being with this group that worked here, it wasn’t devastating. The environment was warm and welcoming. I always left with a positive experience. That attitude helps you get through it. It made our time dealing with Gail’s cancer easier.”

“I hate to say we looked forward to coming here,” said Tony, “but we did. We got to know the people and build relationships. It’s just a very warm, welcoming feeling being here. You’re not going through it by yourself; you’re doing it with 20 other people.”