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Dale Richter: A Celebration of Hope

Dale Richter is one of five Honorees who will be recognized at the 2013 Celebration of Life Gala for the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara on May 3. He has graciously shared his story with us and we are pleased to share it with you.

dalerichter-lg“My family gave me the reason to fight cancer, my doctors gave me the ability to beat it, and the Cancer Support Community gave me the hope to get through it.”

Dale Richter is an eleven-year esophageal cancer survivor and a dedicated advocate for the Cancer Support Community. Diagnosed in 2002, Dale went through two months of chemotherapy and radiation, followed by major surgery and more than a month in the hospital due to complications. Halfway through his chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he joined a support group at CSCVVSB, and for the next year and a half he went every week.

With the support of his family, his doctors, and his CSCVVSB friends, Dale held on to hope, even when one website told him he had a three-percent chance of survival.  “I just decided I wasn’t going to give up,” says Dale.

Wanting to give back to the organization that helped him find hope, Dale became a founding member of the CSCVVSB Speaker’s Bureau last year. In 2012, this panel of CSC participants gave more than 28 presentations to UCLA students, middle schoolers, corporations, service clubs and churches in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

“The first time I had to speak, I was scared to death,” says Dale. “But the Cancer Support Community has done so much for me… I need to let people know about this valuable resource.”

“Dale inspires us with his persistent search for healing and perspective,” says fellow Speakers Bureau member Mark McAlister. “He continues to amaze us with his animated presentation style and his resolve to find humor in an overwhelming situation.”

For nearly seven years Dale has also given back to CSCVVSB by leading orientation sessions for new participants. He also facilitated a post-treatment cancer networking group.

“One of the last stages of healing is giving back. That’s why I do it,” says Dale.