Everyone has a story to tell. We'd love to hear yours.

Life and love after cancer

A collection of stories of survivorship and hope


Five years after VCU Massey Cancer Center helped her defeat cancer, Iva Petrosino is embracing a second chance at life. She found love with Joe and married him, and they are now discovering just how sweet life can be with their new daughter Lucianna. If you are a cancer survivor—and that includes every cancer patient from the moment of diagnosis—we want to know how you are loving life after cancer? Please share your story with us.


My name is Harolynn L. Quash, and I am a 52 year-old female. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on December 4, 2004. I am a cancer survivor. I have had 2 stem cells transplants-- one was done in 2008 where Dr. John McCarty and Dr. Harold Chung of Massey Cancer Center used my cells, and then again in 2009, my oldest sister, Pamela Q.Garnett, gave me her cells.

I just want to say that I am doing well and I try to stay busy with activities
. I am currently on disability retirement from my job after 25 years as a 911 Dispatcher for the City of Richmond Police Department. I keep a positive attitude at all times, even sometimes when I am not feeling all that great.

I did have a setback last December 6, 2014 with GVHD. I was hospitalized for a week where the infection attacked my liver, but through the Grace of God I made it and was able to come home and fully recover. I am now currently taking care of my father who's confined to a wheelchair due to a stroke in November 2012. I was also taking care of my mom when she was operated on (the same time I was released from the hospital), but she passed away in August 2014. I had a "full plate" as some people will say, because my 21 year old son had surgery in January 2014, and I had to look after him along with my dad, and I was still recuperating from my illness. People always asked me, "You are taking care of other people, who's taking care of you?" I would respond by saying, "me and God." I am truly blessed and I don't take anything for granted anymore. I live life like it's my last. I always tell people to think positively, never negatively. When the doctor informed me of my cancer, I told him my motto is "I am going to beat it, it's not going to beat me..."

-Harolynn L. Quash