NewsLocal News

Actions

Roswell Park employees get personal about cancer

Posted at 12:03 AM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 00:03:59-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Thousands of patients walk through the doors at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center every day. David Berndt is one of them.

"I was diagnosed October 12th of 2016. Stage four testicular cancer," Berndt said. More than three years later, he is still battling cancer. His journey taking him from Buffalo to Indianapolis and back with chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and most recently, a stem cell transplant.

Berndt says he lives two months at a time -- that's how long between his doctors appointments -- taking in every day with his love of photography. But he's not just a patient, he's also an employee.

"I don't know where my road's going to go. I have accepted that I might not ever be cancer free. I never really consider myself in remission," he said.

The now 29-year-old was diagnosed just a month after taking a job in the call center at Roswell, working directly with patients.

When Berndt got sick, fellow employees like Richard Satterwhite reached out for support.

"I describe it as a club that nobody asks to join," Satterwhite said. He's an actor, comedian and activist who knows all too well what Berndt is going through. In 2008, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"Being given a second chance, wanting to live was extremely important, every moment," he said. Satterwhite co-founded a group called "Man-Up" the same year he was diagnosed with cancer. The advocacy group aims to get men of color to recognize to the realities of prostate cancer.

This week, the pair marked World Cancer Awareness Day, but they want to ensure every day, brings awareness.

"You only get one chance. This is the only life you're going to live. It's important that you take advantage of every single moment you have," Satterwhite said.