Bob Antonioni’s 2017 PMC Pedal Partner’s: Stephanie Corliss and Joseph Corliss of Leominster, MA

Article ImageStephanie was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer at 27 in 2009, after years of misdiagnosis.

Not one to give up, Stephanie decided to fight the disease. Stephanie had her thyroid removed in April of 2009, and underwent radioactive iodine treatment. By her side through all her treatments was her father, Joseph Corliss, a retired construction worker and sheriff's deputy, and former Leominster City Councilor. He hated seeing his daughter suffer.

"I would say to myself, 'Why can't that be me?'" Joe said. "When you retire, you figure you're entering the best years of your life. Then, all of a sudden, you get hit," he said. "It's a lot to think about."

Suddenly, it became Stephanie's turn to care for her father, as he was diagnosed with Stage 1 Kidney Cancer at age 69, almost 2 years to the day after she was told her cancer would likely not return. Joe had his kidney removed and was given the all clear a short while later. However, within a year of that news, Joseph, then 70 years of age, was told he had Prostate Cancer. "Cancer has no conscience," he said.

Joe went through a round of treatments for the prostate cancer, and has a 90 percent positive outlook from his doctors. "It's that 10 percent you worry about," he said.

Joseph, age 75 and Stephanie, age 36 jointly participate in local fundraising efforts to fight cancer, including the Greater Gardner Relay for Life. Stephanie has served as a team captain for the past 5 years for the Relay, and has been a member of the Relay Planning Committee for the past 6 years. Stephanie also serves as a speaker for the 15-40 Organization, a nonprofit committed to improving cancer survival rates by teaching people how to detect cancer early.

Stephanie admits the initial cancer diagnosis in 2009 devastated her before she decided to push back. "This is why we're kicking cancer's butt," she said. "I'm going to keep on fighting."