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Jamestown woman rings graduation bell at cancer center at Jamestown Regional Medical Center

Rhonda Ravely will receive other treatment in July.

Rhonda and Tom Ravely
Rhonda Ravely, shown with her husband, Tom, recently rang the graduation bell at JRMC Cancer Center. JRMC / Special to The Sun

Although her chemotherapy is complete, one Jamestown woman says her cancer journey is not over.

Rhonda Ravely began chemotherapy last winter after doctors diagnosed her with cancer of the left breast.

What started as a golf-ball-sized tumor is now challenging for her oncologist to find, Ravely said, saying she is looking forward to the next steps of surgery in July and radiation. May 28 was a “big day” for her as she rang the bell to celebrate her graduation from the JRMC Cancer Center.

“I’m feeling wonderful,” she said.

Ravely, 55, is a material services technician at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. Not having to travel for treatment was a plus.

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“Miles matter,” Ravely said. “For me, I say ‘miles of smiles’ because I didn't have to drive to Fargo. Some days, I received my chemo at lunch and then went back to work.”

Not having to worry about transportation costs while balancing reduced hours at work meant Ravely could concentrate on healing.

“The chemo is working,” she said. “I can tell a difference.”

Helping her heal is her husband, Tom, as well as her siblings and coworkers. Current and former colleagues like Cindy Nelms, Nikki Bohn, Elaine Kuske, Shelly Fercho and Debbie Holmstrom have gone especially out of their way, Ravely said.

Ravely is the 11th person from the JRMC Cancer Center to ring the graduation bell, a gift from the Marsha Leigh Espeseth family gift in her memory; she died of breast cancer in 1987 at age 34. Her husband and grown children donated the bell so others could ring the bell that she never could.

Today, Ravely and Lisa Jackson, JRMC Foundation director, are planning a special fundraiser to support future patients like Ravely.

To learn more about the JRMC Cancer Center or to schedule care, visit www.jrmcnd.com/cancer.

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