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American Cancer Society honors a local breast cancer survivor and her husband/caregiver

A local couple turned a cancer diagnosis into a means for helping others.

YORK, Pa. — Wendy and Cole Wolpert met in 2010.

Wendy was a big ice hockey fan and Hershey Bears season ticket holder who frequently traveled with the team. It was on one of those trips that Wendy met Cole. Just friends at first, until it became something more. They got married two years later. 

Just three years after, Wendy was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, a day Cole says he will never forget. 

"We had about 45 minutes of just holding each other, talking it out, just the shock and awe of the news," he said. 

News that Wendy would need 12 rounds of chemo, nine surgeries, and months of constant care shook the couple.

"I was just trying to process minute by minute," Wendy said. "Day by day was way too much." 

Minute by minute. Scan by scan. There were many times she thought about giving up, but she never did.  Now, she and Cole and giving back and offering hope and the promise of a future to other couples battling breast cancer.

"We made a pact that day: we want to build from this and help as many people as we could," Cole said. 

Their work has Wendy now being recognized by the American Cancer Society as their honorary survivor.

"It is an honor," she said. "Survivor. Quite the honor. But in a sense, it truly sucks. Survivors guilt is such a true feeling. It is such a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking feeling." It's one reason she says having a strong support system is vital. It's also why the American Cancer Society has also recognized Cole as the organization's honorary caretaker. 

"The caregiver gets left behind in this process," Wendy said. "All the care should be given to the patient, but the caregiver needs to take time for them self as well, because it's overwhelming."

Every treatment, every surgery. Cole was by Wendy's side.

"You learn a lot about each other during those times and I fell in love with her even more," Cole said.

Cole also has some advice for other people out there who find themselves in his shoes: reach out to somebody. Just like they say, breast cancer patients don't fight alone.

Cole and Wendy just celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. They support other patients and caregivers and don't plan to stop. 

"We would love to stop, we would love to stop when there is no more cancer," Cole said. 

For more information on the American Cancer Society, click here.

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