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TeleStory Booth: A Cancer Confessional

June 12, 2012, 6:06 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

TeleStory Booth: A Cancer Confessional

Hearing that you or a loved one has cancer is never an easy experience. While it may be difficult to talk about it, health officials say it can actually help.

That's why the Avera Cancer Institute has set up a phone booth in the lobby of the Prairie Center.

You probably haven't seen one for a while, especially inside a hospital.  But the TeleStory phone booth at Avera's Prairie Center allows those impacted by cancer to share their story, including 55-year-old Sherry Bryant.

"I seek to tell my story, not because I want people to pity me but I want to be inspiring to them," Bryant said.

Bryant was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer that starts inside bone marrow, four years ago. At that time 85 percent of her blood cells were cancerous.

"It was very frightening; I will not lie," Bryant said.

She's now in remission but has to take anti-rejection treatments after a bone marrow transplant. She says telling her story has helped her heal.

"You have to develop an attitude. If you're going to succeed with this, you have to have an overall positive attitude to help your doctors and nurses help you," Bryant said.

To use the TeleStory booth you simply pick up the phone, dial the operator and leave your story. Spiritual Care Coordinator Mary Guth says even though it may seem like a simple concept, it can have a big impact.

"It can be a healing process for them, a chance to empower, inspire and unite other people," Guth said.

Participants don't have to leave their name and can share as little or as much as they would like. Avera plans to build a website to share the recordings. Guth says it's a chance for those who have lost a loved one to cancer to leave a legacy.  As far as cancer survivors, they can provide hope.

"That's where the inspiration comes from for others. It empowers others to let others know you can get through this," Guth said.

And inspire is exactly what Bryant hopes to do.  She's now cutting her treatments in half.

"Because there's so many people in this world that are going through cancer with themselves or a loved one and it's a very daunting thing to face and to be able to see there are successes," Bryant said.

It's just one new story shared, thanks to an old form of technology.

If you would like to tell your story, the booth will be set up at the Prairie Center until August 4.

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