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A real “Survivor” story
ladys Muzyczek ’76 is a survivor. Not the kind on the TV show, but the kind that has faced life-threatening illness and come out a winner. Assistant director of admissions at Rowan University’s Camden campus, Muzyczek learned she had a cancerous tumor in 1992. Her doctor had insisted that she have a routine mammogram and the disease was detected in its early stages and controlled with radiation therapy.

“I wasn’t going to have the mammogram because of all the things going on in my life,” she said. “I thought I might put it off until the next year when I would have more time. But because I had had my first child after the age of 34, my doctor insisted that I have the test. Following her advice may have saved my life.”

Nearly 13 years later, Muzyczek is cancer-free and an inspiration to her co-workers. Last year, about a half dozen colleagues participated in her honor in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. This year, more than 20 Rowan-Camden employees collected $5,000 in donations and participated in the October 10 event in Philadelphia.

“She’s our hero,” said Laura Rodriguez ’04, secretary for Rowan at Camden’s C.H.A.M.P. program and co-organizer of the Team Rowan University walkers. “She handled her illness so quietly and with so much courage, that many of us didn’t know what she was going through. Now that we do, she’s our inspiration. We want to raise awareness and funds that can hopefully save others just like Gladys.”

A few days before the walk, Muzyczek received a dozen pink roses and a cake to celebrate her survivor status. “I am so grateful knowing that they are here supporting me,” she said. “I am proud that my situation made them want to help others and if telling people about what I’ve gone through can help one person, I’m happy to do it.”

 
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