Lila Ann Krohn’s words, like so many others scribbled on the concrete walls of the partially-finished radiation oncology building at Central Peninsula Hospital, are both deeply personal and painful for her to explain.
“Keep your smile, laughter, courage and positive attitude during this fight with cancer. Let them always be a part of you,” she wrote.
Others left portions of scriptures, quotes, messages to loved ones who had lost their battles with cancers or survived and each will be left on the walls of the radiation oncology building as part of the “Written in Stone” project that started Saturday.
“I remember my brother and I walking in the rain when we were kids and we would shake tree branches to have another whole rain storm on both of us,” Krohn said, her eyes filling with tears. The quote she wrote, Krohn said, was a reference to that memory.
The new oncology center will allow Peninsula residents to travel to Soldotna for treatment instead of making the trek to Anchorage.
Krohn, who has been fighting her own battle with cancer, said she was lucky she was ‘on the mend.’
“During my term of going through treatment, I had to travel back and forth to Anchorage,” Krohn said. “I’m lucky enough that I could afford it, but many people can’t. There are people who drive up and back on the same day they have their treatment. It’s very taxing on your body.”
Jeanette Rodgers, of Soldotna, wrote a message she was hoping would inspire cancer patients.
“Believe, live every day like you mean it. Believe that anything is possible,” she wrote in large blue letters on the concrete wall as her husband held a flashlight over her shoulder for light.
“I haven’t had anybody really close to me with cancer,” she said. “But we’ve had some difficult times and I just wanted to write something inspirational that will make somebody think that anything really is possible.”
While the messages will eventually be covered during the next phase of construction, Central Peninsula Hospital Foundation director Kathy Gensel said each message would be written in a book that the foundation would give to patients that come through the center for treatment.
Still, Gensel said she hoped the original writing would be in place for a long time.
As Rodgers stepped back and surveyed her handiwork she echoed Krohn’s sentiments that a cancer treatment center on the Peninsula would ease the burden on patients and their families.
“It’s hard enough if you have a life-threatening thing in your environment, that you have to pick up and drive to Anchorage does not help,” she said. “You’re out of your home environment, don’t have the support of your family and friends. You can’t move your family up there.”