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Wilmot Stories

Naomi Garwood

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Naomi Garwood will never forget the first time she and her husband walked down the hallway to the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Memorial Hospital.

“That's when the realization hit that I actually have cancer,” Naomi says of that day in June 2011. “What I didn't know then was that I would be surrounded by fabulous and caring medical help and that family and friends would come alongside to support me.”

An assistant professor of education, Naomi drew strength from her husband Ron, her loved ones, and her faith. “I was supported by prayers of family, friends, students, and friends of friends who all took the time to pray that I would have strength and peace. Those prayers were answered.  Even in the lowest times, I never felt alone in my cancer journey.”

Over the course of two years, Naomi went through many cycles of chemotherapy and then a period of maintenance therapy.

“Naomi is an inspiration because of her positive, can-do attitude,” says Alicia Coffin, R.N., who nominated her to be a Warrior Walk honoree. “She continued to live her life as best as she could, enjoying time with her family and taking advantage of every moment.”

In June 2014, Naomi finally completed her treatment. Since then, she has found that her life is not the same, that she now has a “new normal.”

“But I can honestly say that there are up sides to having cancer, and my life is good,” Naomi says. “Specifically, I learned that I am not defined by my job, not defined by my hair, that I have evidence I am loved and supported in all the cards, emails, Caringbridge comments, and meals I received, and I was reminded anew to have an attitude of gratitude for the big and small blessings of life.”

“What I didn't know then was that I would be surrounded by fabulous and caring medical help and that family and friends would come alongside to support me.”