Survivor, sister, supporter
- Categorized in: Community
Lunenburg resident Marcia Sharkey and her sister Linda at the Gardner Relay For Life.
By Samantha Bridgman
Marcia Sharkey's life exemplifies the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life’s motto, "Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back."
Every day is another chance for Sharkey to share her story of loss and hardship, of love and hope. She has become more than a caregiver and survivor; Sharkey is advocate and teacher, constantly fighting for a cure.
Cancer has touched Sharkey's life in one way or another for more than 25 years. The Lunenburg resident began her commitment to the Relay in 1996, walking in the Gardner Relay in memory of her father who lost a seven year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993. Sharkey, a primary school nurse in Westminster, walked along with her sister Linda and the Westminster High School team.
Two short years later, Sharkey’s routine mammogram detected a tumor. She underwent many surgeries at Leominster Hospital, UMASS Memorial in Worcester, and Mass General in Boston. Her doctors recommended an experimental new treatment, a 3-dimensional radiation therapy developed to bypass major organs and more effectively target the cancer cells. This treatment 5 days a week for 7 weeks was followed by a 5-year Tamoxifen regiment. Sharkey went a step further and joined a trial group at Dana Farber Cancer Institute for a new breast cancer drug.
“I’ve been on medication now for ten years… it’s like a security blanket,” said Sharkey who worked throughout all over her treatments.
"My friends, family and co-workers were my mental health therapy," said Sharkey.
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