The weapons to eradicate cancer ---chemotherapy, radiation, surgery---kills the disease but also saps the energy and challenges the spirit of Valerie Fund patients and their families. After treatment and a return to normalcy, many will not remember or choose not to revisit this time in their lives when getting well was all consuming. But for a select few, their experiences at The Valerie Fund Center will have sparked an interest and a desire to return to the hospital and heal others.
Dr. Genghis E. Niver, Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon at Summit Medical Group's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was one of those patients who recovered from cancer and discovered his calling in medicine. Perhaps it was the timing. At the time of his diagnosis, Dr. Niver was a 17 year old senior at Westfield High School. Making plans for college abruptly turned into formulating a plan to combat a highly aggressive form of B-cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
The mass was on the left side of his neck. Dr. Niver's original ENT surgeon and two other Westfield High School students who also had cancer all recommended he continue treatment with Dr. Steven Halpern at The Valerie Fund Center at Overlook Medical Center. Fortunately, Dr. Niver's cancer had not spread anywhere else but he needed two rounds of chemotherapy, each lasting four days with three weeks off in between.
Dr. Niver recalls the treatment being very taxing on his body and thinking how lucky he was to be treated at the Valerie Center. "My worries about the chemotherapy process, my absence from school, and what to expect in the future were all alleviated by the Valerie Center," he remembers. From the binder the nurses prepared explaining every detail of the chemotherapy agents he was receiving to the home tutoring program which allowed Dr. Niver to complete his coursework in time and graduate, "every step was seamless, and really all I had to worry about was getting better and recovering my health."
Sixteen years later, Dr. Niver's own medical expertise only strengthens his belief that the Valerie Fund Center was the right place to receive his treatment. He recognizes that "although many people feel that going to large academic centers in major cities may offer cutting edge treatment, this is not always the case. The physicians at the Valerie Center are completely up-to-date on the latest protocols, and can provide compassionate care in a very private setting. I always felt like I mattered the most, which is very important to a patient undergoing cancer treatment".Back to News Main Page