Cancer survivors find friendships during the many battles with the disease

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FLINT (WJRT) (8/15/2019) - Beating cancer is a hard battle, but there's some good news for people in Michigan.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services mortality rates are improving. Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute took a moment and recognized the many survivors Thursday night.
Flint native Gladys Thompson never pictured ten years ago she would be having fun at the Flint Institute of Arts. It was back in 1999 when a doctor told her that she had non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"That was the first thing that went through my mind was that I was going to die," Thompson said.

Thompson was able to beat cancer. However, that victory was short-lived and was diagnosed again not long after.

"I was kind of sad and depressed, but I pulled it off," Thompson said.

The diagnosis happened again, a few more times, and she finally beat after the sixth time.
   
"When I beat it again I said I got this. We are just going to live together and be friends," Thompson said.

Thompson now has more friends, other local cancer survivors, who've gone through similar battles.
Teresa Fowler beat cancer eight years ago. Fowler says after getting over the five-year hump she's been able to relax a little easier after her win.

"It was always and is still there in the back of my mind, but it's not in the forefront of my mind anymore like how it used to be. So, it is not something that I think about on a daily basis," Fowler said.
   
Cancer is still at the forefront of Pat Gruener's mind. She was the first in her family to be diagnosed with cancer and recently kicked it to the curb. Gruener says the friends you develop during and after the fight that can make a difference.

"Uplifting to be around other people when you are going through the same thing. There is a sisterhood and brotherhood you develop," Gruener said.