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Patient Stories

Every gift you make to the Friends of Bassett helps a patient. Your gifts help us to provide improved technology and better access to care. They help us to educate patients and educate providers. They even help us to bring patients in for therapy when they need a ride. Here is one patient's story.

 

When you meet Victor Pettit (shown above with nurse Jessica Kurst), you’ll be impressed by how much people at Bassett Medical Center love him. All the nurses and aids and administrators know his name. He teases everyone and makes them laugh. He smiles and laughs a lot himself. It takes a minute to remember that he is sitting in the Louis Busch Hager Cancer Center, awaiting chemotherapy treatment for metastatic cancer, one in a series of treatments that will continue for the rest of his life. He’s been coming here for a long time, and he’s been supporting the work of Bassett caregivers for just as long. 

Victor Pettit was raised by his grandparents on a farm in Otselic, New York. He learned to work hard at a young age and later ran his own dairy farm until he sold it, in 1980. By that time, as Mr. Pettit said, “My back didn’t work so well.” Still, he continued to work seven days a week, helping another farmer, partly because, instead of telling him what to do, that person “asked me nicely.” He worked until he had a run-in with a bull, and that encounter ended his farming career. 

Then he got cancer. He was treated at Bassett and recovered. Then he got a different type of cancer. It spread. But Mr. Pettit didn’t let that stop him. 

He did decide to stop driving, however. Now a Bassett van picks him up and takes him to his treatments. He is enormously grateful for this service, and after every ride, he gives a donation to Bassett. “This hospital is heaven as far as taking care of people. They’re awful good to me,” he says. “I think it’s important to give back. I do what I can.”

One of the secrets of Mr. Pettit’s good spirits seems to be focusing on others. When he was a child, he used to pick blackberries and bring them to a local doctor’s office to give to the patients. Now, he notices when other people are feeling down. He makes a special point of talking with them. Sometimes he calls them up to speak with them because he senses they need to talk. He has helped several people work through grief this way. 

Mostly, though, he tries to stay positive himself. “I’ve got an electric train collection,” he confesses, “and if I get down a little, I turn them on and then I feel better.” Mr. Pettit also is quick to praise the support he has received “from the whole Bassett community,” particularly the social worker at the cancer center, Kathy Smith, and the nurses, whom he refers to affectionately as his “chemo girls.” Sometimes he orders pizza for them. He has some advice for those facing cancer or medical difficulties. “You’ve got to have good thoughts. A sense of humor helps. Keep your spirits up. Enjoy what you’ve got.” 


“A sense of humor helps! Enjoy what you've got."

- Victor Pettit, donor and patient, Bassett Medical Center


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Friends of Bassett Healthcare Network

Office Hours Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Address 1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326