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White Plains Hospital Patient Shares Her Experience With Cancer, Pregnancy

Rebecca Schmidt poses with members of the White Plains Hospital leadership and medical team who cared for her at their 2014 Cancer Survivor’s Day celebration at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Rebecca Schmidt poses with members of the White Plains Hospital leadership and medical team who cared for her at their 2014 Cancer Survivor’s Day celebration at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. --  Every cancer survivor has a story to tell, but White Plains Hospital patient Rebecca Schmidt’s experience stands out. 

At seven months pregnant, Schmidt walked into the White Plains Hospital emergency department with a painful cough. An X-ray showed a mass in her chest pressing on blood vessels near her heart, and it was suspected that she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

With her pregnancy and heart at risk, the course of cancer treatment wasn’t obvious. However, one thing was clear. Her oncologist Dr. Mark Fialk and other specialists recommended she spend the last eight weeks of her pregnancy at White Plains Hospital, where she could get the cancer, cardiac, obstetrical and neonatal care she needed. Happily, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Monday, July 1, 2013 and today is cancer-free.

“At first I was shocked,” says Schmidt, who lives in Rye Brook with her husband and two young sons. “All the thoughts went through my head: ‘I don’t want to die; I have family.’ Then I tried to think of it in a positive light. Doctors had found the tumor while something could still be done. From that moment on, I told myself, ‘As long as good things happen, I will be positive.’”

On Sunday, June 8, Schmidt told her remarkable tale as the keynote speaker at White Plains Hospital’s 21st Annual Cancer Survivor’s Day event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains.

Approximately 300 people attended the luncheon, which was deemed a “Celebration of Life.”

“Cancer Survivors Day encourages survivors to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize their supporters,” explains Dr. Mark Gordon, chairman of White Plains Hospital Cancer Committee, and Surgical Director of the Cancer Program, who spoke at the event.

“In turn, it’s a way for us as healthcare providers to reflect upon our work and celebrate our achievements with our patients.”