Sylvia Forsberg of Aurora, who defied doctors in beating cancer – twice – and inspired a host of people along the way, was honored by Rush-Copley Medical Center as part of a national day of recognition for those reaching milestones in their fight against the disease.
“I’ve lived alone during my life, but I also had to take care of my folks, and I had to stay strong,” Forsberg said. “It’s not just a mind-over-matter thing – I had to go to a lot of doctors and keep on top of things. In addition to the cancer, they found I was developing blood clots in my lung and I’m also a diabetic.”
Known as the “energizer bunny” by friends in her support group and medical personnel, the 77-year-old woman highlighted the 29th annual National Cancer Survivors Day earlier this month at Blackberry Farm. Some 200 survivors, caregivers and friends attended the lunch and other activities.
Forsberg has reached 35 years since she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1981 and breast cancer in 2012. She had 18 months of chemotherapy after doctors discovered “a football-sized tumor that wound around my colon on the left side.”
“Doctors were just shocked when they saw what I had, and didn’t think I would survive,” Forsberg said. “There have been a lot of friends, doctors, church, and prayers that have helped me.”
She attends a monthly support group for cancer survivors on the third Tuesday of every month at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center in Aurora, where fellow survivors like Betsy Wisdom have shared stories and concerns.
“I’m a 15-year survivor of stage three melanoma, and I’ve been with the support group here since 2006,” Wisdom said. “I met Sylvia back in 2012 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she really is the ‘energizer bunny’ – she always bounces back.”
Wisdom said she is amazed at what Forsberg has done.