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Tribute | We remember Margaret Rohner

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Submit a tribute for Margaret Rohner.

    Contributed on May 2, 2014

Margaret's story is the most profound and uplifting story a person can tell to those who have been diagnosed with cancer.

She has given a great legacy to many of us.

Thank you so much Margaret...I look forward to meeting you one day.

 Sharon Mills <>
    Contributed on September 9, 2008

Margaret's family, I so enjoyed Margaret's story in her own words. What a brave soul! Each time she was sent a challenge, she met it and got on with her life. To die from natural causes after facing so many hurdles, was a blessing. Margaret, thank you. I know you are still getting on with life where ever you are.

 Malinda from Alabama
    Contributed on March 24, 2008

Thanks SO much for sharing your Mom's story-what an inspiration to us all, especially now when I need it the most! God Bless!

 gretchen from Maine
    Contributed on December 11, 2007

Reading Margaret's story gives me such hope. She is an ispiration and I shall pass her story on to others. Thank you MArgaret for your life, courage and example of you set for all of us.

 Diane <> from Levittown, PA
    Contributed on August 17, 2007

It sounds like Margaret was an amazing woman. I am 44, and was diagnosed in Jan. 2007 with stage 1A ovarian cancer. I was looking for stories of other stage 1 survivors and stumbled onto Margaret's story. What caught my eye was that she was 42 year survivor. Her story quite literally made my day! I found it heartening to know that she lived to a ripe old age after her ovarian cancer, and died of natural causes despite 4 encounters with cancer. I printed out her story to read when the fear of cancer returning gets the best of me, and to remind me to "get on with life"! Thank you for sharing her with the rest of us.

 Nina <> from Peekskill, NY
    Contributed on May 18, 2007

I wanted to first send my condolences to you, for the passing of your mother, I am very sorry. I read about her survival through 4 primary cancers...what a strong woman she was, she is
someone i wish i could have met, the strenght,
and courage your mom must have had, must have
been just amazing. I am a 2x cancer survivor
of breast and anal cancer, i was diagnosed at
age 40 with breast, age 43 with anal. I am now
46 and facing another problem, of abnormal
bleeding, and they are having a hard time gett-
ing a biopsy, because when i had anal cancer
they radiated the outside pelvic also, no gyno
or gyno oncologist can seem to get a D&C. I
have been so worried, i have been abnormally
bleeding on and off since Nov. 2006, after they
had radiated my anal cancer and outside of
pelvic, i didnt have a menses for 1yr and 8
mths and this passed Nov, i started bleeding
sometimes, enough red, sometimes pink, some-
times nothing but i feel cramping. Back in
Nov, Dec, I had pet/ct scan, and MRI, which
both showed normal, this mth, May, 2007, i
repeated, both tests, both show, something
happening with my endometrium, a "very slight
prominence of the endometrium of the lower
uterine segment", thats what the MRI says.
and PET says something similar. I cant tell
you the anxiety i been going through, knowing
i have something going on in my endometrium
and here it is 6 mths, and noone can get a
biopsy, doctor said, hysterectomy isnt good
for me, because the rads i had could cause
me to have infection. So, we are still trying
to figure out what to do, how to obtain this
biopsy, i think when i had the rads, on the
outside of pelvis, it difused the organs in
pelvic together, and made things tighter.
So, I have been worried sick, about what i
could be faced with....after reading, your
mothers letter, and how she survived, all 4
cancers..i cannot tell you, what an inspira-
tion, and strenght, it gave me, all of a
sudden, i just felt, this overwelhming amt
of "HOPE" and "FAITH" her story touched me
so much, i cried, and my mother was right
here crying to....i lost my father, 3 yrs
ago, so its just me and my mother now, she
had melanoma skin cancer, over 12 yrs ago,
but shes doing very well, knock on wood, she
is 74, and a beautiful mother, i love her so
much, as im sure your mom, was a beautiful
and wonderful lady...she gave me, something
tonight, and that is, inspiration and hope,
and to keep the faith...her letter taught
me, no matter what comes your way, to never
lose hope, and confront it face on, i cant
tell you, how reading that she was a 4x
cancer survivor, made me feel. How she did
it, i dont know, all i know is, she must
have been one extroidinary lady, someone
special, im sorry, she ever got the cancers,
but, she gave me and im sure others, a gift,
that gift is, to face whatever comes our way,
and fight it, and never lose the hope and
faith, or never let it get the best of you,
God is grand i believe, and i think he has
certain people, who he knows are strong, to
share and spread this great gift of strenght
to others, people like me, who, for mths now
and days, have felt, hopeless...until tonight
when i read your moms letter and her survivng
4 primary cancers. May she rest in peace, im
sure, shes with all the other angels in heaven.
I hope reflecting on all the great memories of
her, and times together with her, will always
give you peace and feelings of contentment. I
am sure she will always watch over you....!!
She was/is a remarkable woman, she will for-
ever be my inspiration..I hope you are doing
well, God Bless you and may he always protect
you. Thankyou. Nina

 angie <>
    Contributed on May 10, 2007

I read your story and came upon it, searching for anwsers for clues to how to care for my 87 yr old grandmother who was diangnosed with advanced ovarian cancer this January 2007. She was told by dr.'s it would benefit her to have the chemo..but it has been horribly aweful on her...and I do not know if this is worth it to go on or not, just last night she was hospitalized after having her 5th chemo , she cant walk, stand or eat anymore..I just wander if enough is enough..
I am so thankful for you mothers story- and to you for caring for her during her times of trial. God will bless you for your kindness...

 Shannon <> from Clinton, IA
    Contributed on September 3, 2006

I just wanted to let you know how much hope your mother's story gives me. I am 36 and received the Endometrial Cancer diagnosis on 8-24-06. I have saved her story for those days when I don't feel so hopeful. Thank you for sharing her story.

 Ellen Lagasse <> from Eldersburg Maryland
    Contributed on June 17, 2006

I'm sitting here smiling about the candy jars in your room, you and I talking about flowers and what was blooming in my garden. And then without delay Cort and Brendan would wander in... and hugs and kisses would erupt in the room!

Miss you!!!

 Annie <> from Wheeling, WV
    Contributed on April 26, 2006

I have no idea how I got to the site that posted your mother's outstretched hand to me, even as it is.....after her passing.
I have been plagued by ill health and similiar pain and misery for several years now.
I wish to I read her last entry about why she had survived so many health scares in her life...
I must exclaim most profoundly...that if she hadn't...perhaps I would not be as at peace this night...because of her. God rest her soul.
Thank you, Mrs. Rohner, for reaching out to my soul. I feel your sincere concern and comfort.
God be with your family forever.
Mrs. BA Mc (age 45)
Wheeling, WV

 Loraine from new york city
    Contributed on November 15, 2005

As a recent breast cancer survivor, I was so thrilled to read Margaret's words. What a beautiful and strong spirit. I love her story, and it has a great and simple message for me, and for all of us. Thank you, thank you. You helped me.

 Donna from Springfield, VA
    Contributed on July 14, 2005

Dear Family of Margaret ~
what a wonderful story to read; truly inspirational. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Aug 2004 and have undergone two surgeries and eight rounds of chemotherapy and so far things are looking good.

I love reading stories like Margaret's. It shows that being diagnosed with cancer doesn't have to mean the end of the world. Every day new treatments and drugs are becoming available that enable people to live longer and more comfortable lives and even though the statistics are not always good, someone has to make up that 50% or 15% and it may as well be ME.

Thank you and God bless you all.

 Margaret Smith from London
    Contributed on Febuary 20, 2005

I'm one of Margaret's grandchildren - her first grand daughter. I was born six weeks before we lost my grand father. She was funny, strong willed and opinionated. She was old fashioned and smart.

She reminded me constantly that I hadn't written often enough and I started sending her post cards from my foreign travels and calling her from interesting airports. She was thrilled with each call and marvelled at the technology that put me half a world a way on a cell phone.

In her 80s we taught her how to use email and though she was not keen, she did it so that we were all easier to reach.

I sat on a plane one day with an oncologist with one of the big pharamaceuticals, I commented how rewarding his job must be. I also said that he must hear that a lot. He said rarely, most people comment on how sad it is. I realised that my mother and my grandmother made me believe cancer is survivable with the right early treatment.

I wait for the day I follow in their footsteps. Though I don't relish the fight, I do believe I will beat it and it is entirely because of those two women and how well they fought.

 linda hopkins <> from calif.
    Contributed on January 1, 2005

Bless Margaret, I hope I can have just half the courage you had during your long experience with cancer. I thank your for your story, It was a strong show of strength. Thank You, and God Bless you. p.s. Diagnosed 12-1-04 Stage 2-c overian cancer.

 nithiyaseelan <> from india
    Contributed on September 14, 2004

your life is an are a real hero in life.........

    Contributed on September 4, 2004

To Margaret's family: God bless you all. In searching for information on uterine cancer and radiation I stumbled upon Margaret's story. God bless her soul and may she rest in peace for sharing it and being such an inspiration and also for making my fears of this procedure much less than they were before I read her story.

 Liz--one of Margarets grandchildren <> from Richmond, VA
    Contributed on November 16, 2003


Searching through your suitcase to find the fudge, smelling your warm peach cobbler, guessing at jeopardy together, helping with the French words in your crosswords...what nice childhood memories to carry with me throughout my adult life. You made a wonderful difference in the lives of all your grand children.

Today is Carol's 62nd birthday and we know you are proud. Thank you for giving Mom and all of us hope in battling Cancer. Mom is 6 years cancer free today. Your life showed us you can win.

You are loved and missed very much.
Your granddaugheter,

 alexander egg-krings <> from Richmond, VA
    Contributed on November 16, 2003

Dear Mugs,

I miss hugging you. I wish next time I go to Pittsburgh I could hug you but I cant.

I wonder if you play basketball in Heaven?

I love you.

Alexander, great grand son, 5 years old.

 Pat <pmcdonald> from Nova Scotia Canada
    Contributed on November 15, 2003

Wow. I am uplifted by her story. I am a 1 year survivor, and having a difficult time this pasat week I was so poitive and hopeful, then suddenly it disappeared. This story renews my hope. Thanks for sharing.

 Joanna Chan <> from Singapore
    Contributed on September 9, 2003

Dear Carol and Robert,
I first read your mum's story about a year ago. I was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer in May 2001, at the age of 42. I found her story very inspiring, and was rereading it for the third time today when I learn of her death. I am glad to learn that her passing was a peaceful one. I never had this kind of relationship with my parents (I was adopted), so I can only say I envy you. Thank you too, Carol, for your story. Take care, God Bless. Joanna from Singapore.

    Contributed on August 17, 2003


    Contributed on May 30, 2003

My mother also survived 3 primary cancers. I remember how difficult it was due to the fact that people thought they could catch cancer and little was done to address the person's spirit.

I am grateful that Margaret was generous enough to post her experiences. They are now part of my healing and so she goes on...

 Cate Axtman <> from Pittsburgh, PA
    Contributed on May 8, 2003

Grandma Margaret always understood what was most important in life- family and friends. She was proud and humble, independent and strongwilled.

I feel so lucky to have had such a wonderful grandma for 32 years and so glad that she lived long enough to know my three kids.

Here is to crossword puzzles, jellybeans and Manhattans at 5:00. I love you Grandma! You are one of a kind.

 Sue B. <> from Middletown, PA, USA
    Contributed on May 7, 2003

I am so grateful for the honor of meeting Margaret at Carol's beautiful home one evening for dinner. I have thought of her so often in the past few years. Thank goodness she had her story added to the EOTP site. It will continue to inspire us and give us hope for years to come. She fought the beast and won, not once, but several times, with grace and dignity.

Carol and family, I send you my love and condolences. And, Carol, try to keep in touch so we know how you're doing. We miss you.

Love, Sue B.

 Lola from Salt Lake City, UT
    Contributed on May 7, 2003

Dear Carol,

I'm so sorry for your loss. I will remember your mom as a pioneer in cancer survivorship and advocacy. She taught us by example, how we could live life fully, while dealing with cancer.

Thank you for sharing her spirit with all of us at My love and prayers go out to you and your entire family. Bless you Carol.


 Robert Rohner <> from McHenry Illinois
    Contributed on May 6, 2003

My mother was the biggest prize in my life. She was always there during the good times as well as the tough times. Despite all of the adversity she has endured, she always had time for Carol and me. She is a survivor in the biggest sense of the word. She was fair, tough, gentle and compassionate.


 Janice Donley <> from Pittsburgh, PA
    Contributed on May 6, 2003

Carol, my heart goes out to you in the loss of your mother -- and my sympathy is with your entire family. I know everyone feels a big hole in their life now that Margaret has moved on to the next phase of her life.
It seems that no matter how old our mothers are when they die that it is too soon. That final cut of the umbilical cord leaves us really standing alone for the first time.

Margaret was a treasure -- I really enjoyed meeting her when the EOTP crew visited your home a couple of years ago. Margaret seemed so happy to be a part of the EOTP group of survivors, and she stood out as an inspiration to all the rest. She will be missed, but I'm sure her light will continue to shine as a beacon to others who walk the same path.

God's blessings to you and to all those who have lost such a wonderful family member and friend,

Most sincerely,
Jan Donley

 Carol (Daughter) <> from Pittsburgh, PA
    Contributed on May 6, 2003

Yesterday morning my mother "Margaret"
WON a 45 year long race against cancer at the age of 90. She was peaceful, in my home with me, in her own room, in her own bed, and died from natural causes, NOT from cancer. She brought me into this world in 1941 as I drew my first breath. I thank God for allowing me to be with her yesterday when she drew her last. To the extent that death can be beautiful, hers truly was.

Please join me in celebrating the life of this incredible survivor. Four separate times she fought and won: 1958 (ovarian); 1961 (endometrial); 1976 (colon); and 1986 (colon). I hope you will take time to read her story. She has been such an inspiration to me, and I hope she will be to each of you as we each fight our own battle against this horrible beast.

She was so proud of her affiliation with this group, and had the privilege of meeting Cathy Black, Sue D., and Sue B. on one of their
early meetings in Pittsburgh. She had a photo of Sue D., herself and me on the wall near her bed when she died.

I know she and my father (who lost the race with prostate cancer in 1965 at age 54) are now with all the others who have finished the
race to help any and all of us when we ask. I am so happy that my parents are now reunited. I can only imagine the joy of that reunion after 33 years apart.

My mother continues to be my hero. Stronger than anyone I have ever known. Her own mother, Marguerite, passed away at the age of 59 from
a stroke in front of my mother, Margaret, who was then just a young girl of 16. I do believe that the pain of that loss gave my mother
survival determination, and carried her through all her health battles.

Besides cancer she had lots of other health battles too, including a placenta previa birth (lost her baby girl and nearly bled to death),
repair of an abdominal aneuryism, a hip replacement, carotid artery surgery, a plate in her face (severed an artery and nearly bled to
death from a fall), a plate in her foot from a fall, a non malignant tumor (acoustic neuroma) on her left auditory nerve treated with gamma knife which resulted in loss of hearing in one ear, and removal of at least a half dozen basal cells from early dermological radiation treatments on her face in the 40's.

Most recently, at the age of 89, she had a horrible fall on my birthday, November 2002, resulting in a hematoma on the right side of her brain which the neurologist described as gigantic. He said this bleeding would take her life within days possibly hours. We provided no life sustaining measures, as we knew she was dying. She was totally incoherent, incapable of speech, or understanding.

But, she wasn't ready to die. Against all odds, she recovered. She regained her ability to talk, walk, dress herself, etc. She did suffer some memory impairment, but kept her sense of humor. Her Dr. told me he had given up making predictions about my mother's longevity.

She did not want to leave me, before we were both ready.

When asked her age, she used to remark, when she was 74 years old, she was only "47". When she was 84 years old, she was only "48"---always reversing the numbers. It is with awe yesterday that I realized her own mother had died when she (Margaret) was only 16 years old, and I was "61". Reversed numbers again a coincidence...who knows? All I do know is that I will miss her so
very much. She gave me unconditional love and a role model of survivorship which I shall always strive to emulate.

Five days ago she had a big breakfast, took a shower, got dressed, and in the evening said she didn't want to have her daily glass of evening wine, or her dinner. She got into bed. She never got out.

SHE chose her moment of death..and decided it would be Saturday morning, one day after I had returned from a trip away from home. Amazing.

We are having a Memorial celebration for her on Saturday, May 10th at Hoffman-Schneider Mortuary in Dubuque, Iowa from 1:30-3:00 (her birthplace and former home). Her grandchildren and step grandchildren are flying in from as far away as London, England, Boston, California, Florida, and
Hawaii. She has 2 children, my brother and myself, 13 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren. Nearly all will be there. She was dearly loved. We will miss her so much.

Good Bless Margaret, and all of you, and thank you for "listening". I think of you all often, and keep you in my prayers.

Carol F.
adenocarcinoma cervix 1b Oct. 1997, age 55.
Radical Hysterectomy/bso/bilateral node dissection
And gratefully dancing with NED at age 61

 Georgia P <> from MA
    Contributed on May 6, 2003

Margaret's incredible survivorship story certainly has been an inspiration for many women ~
although this is a sad time for Carol, and all Margaret's family, there is celebration as well as Margaret LIVED through all the adversity of her illnesses to die a peaceful death in her own bed at the age of 90! She must have been an amazing woman. I am glad we had the privilege of "knowing" her through Carol.

My thoughts are with you all during this time of adjustment and acceptance.

 Nancy T from California
    Contributed on May 6, 2003

Dear Carol,

What you wrote about your mother is beautiful. That gives us all inspiration. She sounds like an amazing woman. We will all be there with you in spirit to celebrate her life at the memorial service. My deepest condolences are with you.

Nancy T

 Fay from Victoria, Australia
    Contributed on May 6, 2003

Dear Carol,

My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Many times I have read your Mum's story and it always inspires me. What a true survivor and a much loved Mother to you. I hope your beautiful memories that you have shared with us give you some comfort at this sad time, Carol.

Condolences from Fay

 Sue Donley <> from Pittsburgh, PA
    Contributed on May 5, 2003

I was privileged to meet and visit with Margaret several times at her daughter Carol's house. Margaret was tiny in physical stature, but her body housed an indomitable spirit! Her story of survival of four primary cancers has inspired many of us here at EOTP. Winning the race by dying of natural causes at age 90 is definitely the way we all hope to go!

I so often think about how lonely her walk must have been having ovarian and uterine cancers in the 1950s and 1960s, when "cancer" was an unmentionable word, much less cancers "down there." What courage she showed in sharing her story now, so that later generations of women could gain hope from her experience.

Margaret, thank you and godspeed! Carol and family, I know even a good, long life, well-lived, leaves family with a big loss, an empty chair at the table, a hole that will never be filled. May memories of Margaret's long life comfort you at these times and may God hold you all close.

Sue Donley

 Michele T <> from Philadelphia, PA
    Contributed on May 5, 2003

I want to extend my sympathies to Margaret's daughter Carol and the rest of her family. Margaret has always been an inspiration to many of us at EOTP. To have fought the beast 4 times and to have died of natural causes at age 90 is amazing. Thank you Carol for letting us all get to know your mother through you, for letting us know of her passing and allowing us to celebrate her wonderful long life with you.

 ChrisAW from Atlanta, GA
    Contributed on May 4, 2003

What an inspiration you are to all of us EOTP, and I'm sure everyone who knew you. Time to hang up those running shoes and put on your dancing shoes!

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