Pam McGee is the 2020 61 for 61 Honorary Chair.

‘I never thought in a million years that I’d get cancer’

August 21, 2020

Story by cancer survivor Pam McGee, the 2020 61 for 61 Honorary Chair

I never thought in a million years that I’d get cancer, so I never really paid attention to it. I never thought I would be the one to get it.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on May 3, 2019. I had a tumor in my lower right lung that had spread and metastasized to my bones.

My first thought was one of disbelief. Once I accepted that it really was cancer, the second thing that went through my head was, “I’m going to beat it.” There were fears, but I never had a doubt that I was going to be OK.

Did I want cancer? No! But I was in a pretty good position to manage this. I had the four most important things: expert medical care, holistic services, faith and a strong support system.


Expert medical care

After my diagnosis at Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center, I went to another medical center for a second opinion. What they told me just reaffirmed my faith in Roger Maris. I was already receiving the best care I could get, and my oncologist, Dr. Mark Gitau, had created a fantastic treatment plan.

I was a complicated patient, but they took every challenge, rallied the experts and figured out a game plan to help me get better.

Not to mention, I live just four blocks away from Roger Maris. Throughout my treatment, I kept running my own business and teaching at Minnesota State University – Moorhead.


A holistic approach

At Roger Maris, they care for the whole person: mind, body and spirit.

I ended up taking advantage of every service offered by Roger Maris from meditation to art classes to survivorship support groups. Doing those things is why I am doing so well.


Faith and family

Having all this close to home was essential, because I would never have made it through this without my family, friends and faith community.

Telling my kids was that hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I knew we’d be fighting this together. We call ourselves the pack, and I’m so blessed to have great relationships with my kids.


Beating the odds

Today, I’m continuing to heal and am doing great. I get up every day and pray I continue to do well.

Thanks to Roger Maris, I have all the right treatment options, and I’m confident knowing what comes next.

Please consider supporting Roger Maris for everyone who needs it. 100% will support hope, healing and comfort at Roger Maris.


61 For 61 Radiothon

Hear more of my story and meet others who depend on Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center. Tune in to 107.9 The Fox on Sept. 11.