ATLANTA -- After being diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer and undergoing 18 rounds of chemotherapy at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital's Outpatient Infusion Center, Christina Gullett made history. She became the first patient to ring the Center's new Survivor's Bell in celebration of the end of her treatment and the hopeful start of a cancer-free life.
"I plan to beat this, so ringing that bell at the end of my chemo is kind of my way of saying, 'I won,'" a tearful Gullett said. "It felt amazing to ring that bell."
Gullett donated the bell to the center, not only as a thank-you to the staff that cared for her but to give other cancer patients motivation and encouragement at the end of their treatment. The plaque next to the bell includes the inscription "Ring this bell, Three times well, Its toll to clearly say, My treatment's done, This course is run, And I am on my way!"
Gullett, the married mother of two boys, ages 7 and 9, was not only surrounded by family, but the Center's staff members who lined up and rallied for her as she walked to ring the bell.
"They were part of my team, part of my family throughout this whole journey and I can't thank them enough," she said.
The emotional moment was videotaped and can be found on Piedmont's YouTube channel.
"We know the survivor's bell will inspire patients for years to come, and we are thankful to Christina and her family for this donation," said John Goodman, executive director of oncology services for Piedmont Healthcare. "Every time we hear the bell ring we will think of Christina and the hope that motivates all who are touched by cancer."
Gullett's mother lost her battle with breast cancer at age 41. Gullett, 40, is determined to beat the disease and watch her sons grow into adulthood.
Although she has not officially been declared cancer-free, her cancer markers are now within normal range. She attributes her survival to her oncologist, Dr. John McBroom, and the top-notch care she received at the Outpatient Infusion Center.
"We fell in love with Piedmont and the staff. They took care of me like family. Although cancer is not a fun or pleasant experience, I never dreaded going there and that speaks volumes of the staff," Gullett said. "One thing that drew us to Piedmont was that the Infusion Center is comfortable and inviting. Others we visited were sad and depressing. If you're going through something this rough, you want it to at least be comfortable. It made a world of difference."