Judy Provo wasn’t about to let breast cancer slow her down.
The Ontario, Canada, native and longtime Canton resident loves to travel. It was after an annual beach trip that she sought out a doctor about a weird symptom: Whenever she’d wear a bathing suit, she’d feel the sun burning a specific spot on her chest.
She was days away from a long vacation in Florida when Dr. Sabrina Shilad, of Aultman Hospital’s Breast Care Center, gave Provo a breast cancer diagnosis.
Provo was hesitant to cancel a vacation she’d promised her grandchildren, so Dr. Shilad came up with a solution. Provo would cut the two-month trip in half and Dr. Shilad would schedule surgery for as soon as Provo could get home.
Provo was impressed with Dr. Shilad’s kindness and her willingness to personally schedule the procedure—as well as with the care she received from the entire Aultman staff.
“Dr. (Shruti) Trehan and Dr. Shilad were incredible. Absolute incredible. So caring,” she said. “They’re always trying to encourage you to do what you have to do.”
Provo was no stranger to Aultman. She’s the former director of community relations at the hospital, is on the Women’s Board where she worked on the campaign to raise funds for the Cancer Center and is a longtime volunteer at the compassionate care center.
Provo volunteered through almost her entire breast cancer treatment—she did take a break during her last week of chemotherapy. And she took a golfing trip to Scotland between chemo and radiation treatments.
“I kept trying to do everything I was doing,” she said. “And I think that helped a lot. To keep going.”
Her doctors encouraged Provo to keep at it.
“Besides being so caring and understanding, they worked around what I wanted to do,” she said. “I think they’re the most incredible people you can possibly imagine. They almost become your best friend there.”
Provo has been cancer free for seven years.
She advised others dealing with their own diagnosis to “stay positive and keep going.”
“You have to have strong beliefs,” she added.