GILBERT, AZ — A cancer diagnosis can often feel like the battle between life and death. For Sher Starr, she bet her faith would get her through the match to ring a celebratory bell.
There is what's known as the "Bell of Hope" at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert.
When patients get to ring it, that means this stage of treatment is over and they can walk out of the center's doors feeling like the winner that they are.
Starr, a 52-year-old teacher in the East Valley, pointed up to heaven and thanked God as she got to make some noise this week.
"I call it, 'The cancer can go to hell bell,' because... we stomp on the head of cancer," said Starr. "Cancer can go to hell."
Starr was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer back in June. She went through six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and then 20 rounds of radiation.
"It comes a point where I just have to surrender and say, 'Lord, my life is in your hands,'" Starr said.
She also hoped the staff at Banner Health would answer her prayers.
They became more than just doctors, but cheerleaders in a battle that lasted over six months.
"It's very emotional often because they do realize they're not going to be seeing us every day," explained Radiation Oncologist Dr. Emily Grade. "We have a lot of relationships that we develop over time when these patients come every day for treatment and it's a good way for us to say goodbye because we're sad to see them go, but we're also happy, so we want to celebrate."
Starr hopes to encourage other people to not give up and to keep fighting for another round. She wants to see more people ring the bell in celebration.
"Don't despair. Be brave and courageous," said Starr. "... Cancer can be defeated."