Teen cancer survivor to host breakfast in St. George for fellow cancer-battling teens – St George News

Teen cancer survivor to host breakfast in St. George for fellow cancer-battling teens – St George News

ST. GEORGE — Local cancer survivor Ethan Fishel, 15, will host a pancake breakfast Saturday morning for fellow teens battling cancer.
The event will officially kick off Washington County’s first cancer support group for teens, as well as serve as Fishel’s Eagle Scout project. Breakfast runs 9-11 a.m. at Cottonwood Cove Park, and all teen cancer survivors, patients and their families are welcome to attend.
Along with breakfast, the event will include music and games like 9 Square in the Air, cornhole, giant tic-tac-toe and giant Jenga.
Ethan Fishel was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2021. Fishel’s mother, Angela, had seen a visible bump on the side of his neck and took him to a doctor to check it out. The bump revealed stage one lymphoma, leading Fishel to two rounds of chemotherapy. Ethan Fishel became cancer-free by the end of the summer.
“I thought, ‘This really sucks. I really don’t know what to do,’” he said. “It was really scary, but the doctors did their thing and got it cured and fixed.
“I feel like I’m a different person. Now that I’ve got through cancer, I can see ways to help others that I couldn’t see before.”
Throughout chemotherapy, the Fishels looked for a cancer support group for teens, but the closest groups were in Las Vegas and the Wasatch Front, hours away.
“When you think about the financial implications of taking your kid that far for support groups, that’s a $100 bill for me to drive him there and back, plus an entire day out of town,” she said. “We were fortunate enough that we could afford that, but so many families can’t.”
As part of the support group, Ethan played golf, saw movies and made lasting friendships with teenagers going through similar life challenges. He still keeps in touch with the friends he created through these groups, even a year later.
Despite the help of the groups, Angela Fishel said the experience would have been much better for her and Ethan if there was a local support group.
“As a parent, I was just so worried,” she said. “If there had been a local group that we could have tied into really fast, that would have lowered our anxiety level by having other kids and parents we could’ve talked to. It wouldn’t have told us everything to do, but at least we could’ve gotten a bigger picture.”
Youth going through cancer treatment often feel alienated, and losing hair can feel terrible, she said, adding that getting like-minded and experienced teens to join a support group helps them set cancer to the side and feel like teens together.
“You just have to take one day at a time. All the other things down the road will come when you get there,” she said. “It will end. The treatment will end, and things will get better. Treatment is rough, but you get through it.”
Ethan Fisel shares his mother’s optimism regarding cancer treatment, and he expressed what he’ll be able to convey in his own teen cancer support group in Washington County.
“Don’t worry about the future. Just focus on today,” he said.
RSVP for Saturday’s breakfast by emailing [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook page at this link.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.
Truman Burgess grew up in Washington state, Virginia and Arizona. He graduated from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in English. Before starting at St. George News in 2022, Truman was an editorial reporter and lead copy editor for “Scroll,” a news service in Idaho. He won Idaho Press Club’s 2021 award for best student column of the year. When he’s not reporting or writing, Truman spends his time Latin dancing with his fiance and climbing trees with his kids.
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