In advance of this weekend's American Cancer Society telethon on BRC 13, we introduce you to this year's courage award recipients. A group of brave men and women who are fighting cancer head on.
From Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, Donna Laughlin has been fighting breast cancer for three years.
Laughlin of Tamaqua has been battling breast cancer since June of 2017. Doctors needed to perform a bilateral mastectomy, and she continues her treatment.
"I did oral chemo and now i have hormone therapy. And we're just waiting for the day that we're told we're cancer free." Laughlin said.
She also suffered a second stroke on the 24th of this month, and just received her third surgery back in November. Battling breast cancer and other health problems is scary, but the physical pain also weighs on her.
"Very, very painful. It was a struggle." She said, "My husband took a leave of absence from work basically. And my mom, everybody came every day and they took care of me."
Donna said it's her support system of her husband, family, friends, and coworkers who have gotten her this far.
"It was wonderful. You couldn't do it without a support system. People don't have a support system, that has to be very hard on them because you need everybody that wants to help you."
Donna has pretty much worked full time at Luigi's Brick Oven Pizzeria on Broad Street in Tamaqua throughout her breast cancer battle. Her boss Rosario Longo cannot believe how she fights and works hard every day.
"She's a fiery Irish." He laughed, "She's just an ever-ready battery. She just never stops. She's got the heart of a lion. It's just Incredible."
Donna was the pizzeria's first ever employee 13 years ago, and she handed in her application by shouting it across the street.
"And she says, 'Well I'm willing to work!' I said, 'You're hired!' And since the first day she's been here. She's like my sister." Longo said.
Longo said Donna is just as responsible for the success of the pizzeria as he is. She feels blessed and honored to be receiving a courage award along side three other cancer fighters.
"Shocked. You know, I was told by friends that I deserved it. It's wonderful to be thought of that way."
See Donna and the rest of the courage award recipients on the American Cancer Society telethon right here on Channel 13 from noon to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.